Being accused and charged with a criminal offense is a frightening experience for anyone, and is made even more so it is your first time. Along with your (understandable) concern for the outcome of your case, you also have to wade through the criminal justice system and the prosecution process and try to navigate it successfully. The most important thing you can do when you find yourself in this situation is to hire an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney to defend you. Of course, if you have never needed a criminal attorney before, even accomplishing that can seem difficult. Furthermore, you may not know what to expect from your defense attorney after you have retained him/her. One thing that often causes frustration for a first-time defendant is communication with an attorney. How often should you expect to hear from your criminal attorney? Given the fact that no two criminal prosecutions are the same, nor are any two criminal defense attorneys, the answer to that question may be a bit elusive; however, some general information about the criminal process in general and how most criminal attorneys interact with clients may be helpful.
Your Criminal Defense Attorney’s Job
Let’s start by clearing up some myths and misperceptions about what your criminal defense attorney’s job actually is, and is not. Your criminal defense attorney’s primary duties and responsivities include protecting your rights and preparing a defense for your case. As part of those job descriptions, your attorney will likely do some investigating into your case, review the evidence the State has against you, interview witnesses, and eventually discuss with you the options you have for resolving your case. Unless your attorney is able to get the charges dismissed, these options will usually include entering into a negotiated guilty plea agreement or proceeding to a trial by judge or a trial by jury.
How Does Your Attorney Do His/Her Job?
The vast majority of the work your criminal attorney does will occur behind the scenes, so to speak. If there is a controversial legal issue, for example, your attorney might spend hours upon hours reading through case law to try and decipher the issue and decide on a course of action. Your attorney will also spend a good deal of time reviewing the “discovery” materials the State has provided. “Discovery,” in a criminal case, refers to the evidence the State has put together against you which may include lab reports, witness and victim statements or interviews, audio or visual recordings, and/or police reports. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, it can take a considerable amount of time to go through all of this, particularly when the purpose of doing so is to find inconsistencies, errors, or potential defenses.
Along with spending a good deal of time doing research and analysis, your criminal attorney will also be communicating with the prosecuting attorney throughout your case. They may be talking about a number of things, including a potential plea agreement or discussing legal issues involved in the case. You won’t be involved in these discussions because your attorney is protecting you and your right to remain silent.
When Will Your Attorney Contact You?
Although your attorney should always be accessible to you, he or she will only contact you when there is a need to do so. Understandably, you may want to be kept up to date with everything that happens in your case; however, that is neither necessary nor practical. Your criminal attorney should contact you though when certain things occur, or for specific reasons, such as:
- If a court date has been charged or is coming up
- If a plea agreement has been offered
- If new evidence has been discovered to your attorney
- When the results of tests come in
- To discuss trial strategy
- If you have potentially violated the terms of your release
While these are not the only reasons your criminal attorney will contact you, they are some of the most common reasons. You might also find that it is easier, and quicker, to get in touch was your attorney’s assistant or paralegal for less important matters because your attorney will also spend a good portion of time in court.
The bottom line is that this is generally one of those cases where “no news is good news” because it means your attorney is working on your case. The only time you should get concerned is if you need to speak to your attorney and you cannot get through nor have you received a return call.
If you are currently facing criminal charges in Nebraska, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.