Whether you are currently just a “person of interest” in a criminal case, the confirmed target of an investigation, or have officially been charged with a criminal offense, the smartest thing you can do at this point is to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney. Hiring an attorney, however, will only serve to protect you and your rights if you actually listen to your attorney and follow his/her advice. Though your attorney has been hired to help you, there are also a number of things you can do to help your criminal defense lawyer as well. Ultimately, helping your attorney will allow your attorney to do an even better job helping you.
What Is Your Nebraska Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Job?
This may seem like an unnecessary question to ask and answer; however, because most people have never needed a criminal defense attorney before they frequently operate under misconceptions about the scope of a defense attorney’s job. Your lawyer’s job is not to make decisions for you, as a general rule. As long as you are competent to make important decisions regarding your case, you must ultimately make them. Your lawyer’s job is to ensure that you understand the evidence against you, the options you have, and the consequences of those options. For instance, the decision to accept a plea agreement or not is one you must make yourself. Your criminal defense lawyer should negotiate the agreement on your behalf, explain the terms of the agreement, and provide you with his/her advice regarding the benefits of accepting the agreement or proceeding to trial. You, however, must decide which may to proceed.
What Can You Do to Help Your Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Sometimes, a criminal defense lawyer is only as good as the client allows him/her to be. In other words, if you ignore your attorney’s warnings and advice, your attorney may not be able to defend you as successfully as would be the case had you listened to those warnings and advice. Some things you can do to help your lawyer, and ultimately yourself, include:
- Never consent – if the police show up at your home, office, or anywhere else owned by you, asking to search the property without a warrant, do not consent to the search. Make them obtain a warrant – if they can. The minute you consent you take away your attorney’s ability to challenge the search and any evidence found pursuant to the search.
- Keep quiet – never, never, never, agree to “talk” to the police without first consulting an attorney. In addition, do not discuss your criminal case with cell mates, friends, co-workers, and least of all the press. Even if you are 100 percent not guilty, something you say could be misconstrued and cause you to become the primary suspect.
- Be respectful – it can be difficult to maintain your composure in a courtroom if you feel you are being unfairly accused of a crime; however, being disrespectful to the prosecutor, judge, or anyone else will certainly not endear you to those who hold your fate in their hands. On the contrary, it makes your attorney’s job of portraying you in a positive light much more difficult.
- Be truthful – the relationship you have with your criminal defense lawyer is protected by the attorney-client privilege, meaning anything you say to your attorney will remain confidential except in very rare circumstances. Your attorney will not ask you a question unless he/she needs to know the answer. Being evasive, or downright lying, will only result in putting your lawyer at a disadvantage when it comes to your defense.
- Listen – it’s amazing how many people pay an attorney and then refuse to listen to the attorney’s advice. While it is your choice to follow the advice or not, you should at least listen to it.
- Be available – developments can occur unexpectedly and often rapidly in a criminal investigation. Be sure to be available at all times and stay in touch with your attorney. In addition, make sure you let your attorney know if you have moved or have a new telephone number.
If you are involved in a criminal investigation, or have been charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer immediately. Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney today.