If you find yourself a defendant in a criminal prosecution, you are undoubtedly worried about how your case will turn out. The best thing you can do to ensure a positive outcome is to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you have never before needed a criminal defense attorney, however, you may unsure how your relationship with your attorney is supposed to work. You may also be hesitant to confide in your attorney. Considering the important role your attorney will play in the outcome of your case, having a good working relationship with him/her is crucial. It is equally important that you tell your criminal lawyer things that could have a direct impact on your case, such as:
- That you have an alibi. Even if you have never before been accused of a crime, you probably know what an alibi is. In essence, an alibi is a claim that you were somewhere else at the time the crime occurred, meaning you could not have committed the crime. It is important to tell your criminal lawyer right away if you are claiming an alibi because when a defendant claims an alibi defense the defendant is required to give the prosecuting attorney notice ahead of time of the defense cannot be used at trial.
- That you have been diagnosed with a mental illness. If you have struggled with a mental illness for much of your life, you may not wish to share the details with someone you hardly know; however, your criminal defense attorney needs to know. Most court systems now take mental illness seriously. Although it is not usually an absolute defense to committing a crime, it can go a long way toward mitigating your punishment. In fact, many court systems now have a mental health diversion program that allows a defendant who is eligible to avoid a conviction if he/she completes the program.
- That you have drug or alcohol addiction. The same basic reasoning applies to letting your lawyer know if you have a drug or alcohol problem. Judges understand that addiction can lead to all kinds of negative behaviors, including criminal conduct. Once again, having a drug or alcohol addiction does not absolve you of guilt for committing a crime; however, it can mitigate your punishment for committing the crime. Many jurisdictions also have substance abuse diversion programs that are similar to the mental health diversion programs. Your attorney cannot even explore the diversion option, however, if you don’t divulge your addiction.
- That you have a criminal history or that you were arrested again. If you have a criminal history at all, that history could impact your present case in several ways. It could make the prosecuting attorney less lenient and less willing to negotiate. It could also cause you to be non-suspendable, meaning you are required by law to serve some, or all, of any sentence you receive if convicted. Furthermore, if you are arrested while out on bail, it is imperative that you tell your attorney. A new arrest is likely a violation of your pre-trial release conditions, meaning you could be remanded back into custody until your case is resolved.
- Everything you told the police. Most of the time, police officers attempt to get a suspect/arrestee to talk about the crime. Even knowing you have the right to remain silent, you may have talked to the police. If so, no need to feel bad – most people do. Your attorney, however, needs to know what information you gave the police so that he/she can be prepared. Surprises are not good in a criminal prosecution.
Contact an Omaha Criminal Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska, consult with an experienced Omaha criminal lawyer as soon as possible. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.