If you have recently been charged with a criminal offense and have retained the services of a criminal defense attorney for the first time you may have a number of questions and concerns about your case specifically, but also about the attorney-client relationship as well. Unless you have needed the services of an attorney before there is no reason why you would know what to expect. One common question first-time clients have is “ How often do lawyers contact their clients?
Because every attorney, and every law firm, develops their own set of procedures and methods, particularly where the attorney-client relationship is concerned, there is no universal answer that applies to that question – or to any other similar questions. There are, however, some common factors to consider when evaluating how well an attorney communicates with you as a client.
First and foremost, as a client you should have the ability to communicate with your attorney and/or your attorney’s support staff in a timely manner. Telephone calls and e-mails should not go unanswered for days, assuming you are not contacting your attorney on a daily basis. If you have a question or concern you should have access to your attorney either in person, over the telephone, or via email/snail mail within a reasonable time frame to discuss your questions or concerns.
One thing that first-time clients often feel uncomfortable with is that it is often an assistant or paralegal that will be your regular contact within the office for routine questions or matters. Your attorney will frequently not be immediately available because he/she is either in court or working on a case which is why an assistant is often designated as the point of contact for day-to-day matters. Rest assured, however, that everyone who works for your attorney is bound by the same rules of confidentiality that your attorney is. A paralegal or assistant cannot give you legal advice though. For that you need to speak directly to your attorney.
As for when you should expect to hear directly from your attorney that will vary considerably. As a general rule, you will hear from your attorney often at the beginning of your case as your attorney will need to gather relevant facts and information from you in order to develop a defense. After that, however, there is usually a lull in the case during the “discovery” stage. If a plea agreement is offered you will once again need to discuss that at length with your attorney to decide whether or not to take it. If you do not decide to negotiate a plea agreement, your attorney will begin preparing for trial. As you get closer to trial you can expect to spend a considerable amount of time at your attorney’s office to ensure that you are ready.
Often, in a criminal case, the old adage “no news is good news” applies. Your attorney should certainly keep you informed at all stages of the process; however, it is not unusual for weeks to go by without any contact. Just keep in mind that just because your attorney has not called you recently does mean that he/she is not working hard on your case, and, of course, if you need to talk to your attorney you should always be able to do so.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense 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.