If you’re facing a criminal trial, it’s time to work with the pros.
Only a minority of cases go to trial, but when they do, an exhaustive court battle follows. To secure the best possibility of obtaining a favorable result, you need to know how to work with your criminal trial lawyer in the most efficient way possible.
Here are 7 ways you can help your criminal trial lawyer win for you.
1. Tell the Truth
This is the one thing that’s worth repeating: your defense lawyer needs to know the truth.
Not the fudged version that makes you look better, or even the version you tell yourself. They need the literal facts of what happened, when it happened, with no omissions and no prevarications.
Lawyers don’t like surprises. But when they don’t know the full story, they’re much more likely to walk into one. That means all their preparation — and your case — goes straight out the window.
2. Respect Their Time
A criminal lawyer isn’t a Dear Abby column or your therapist. They can’t help you with the emotional aspects of a case.
They also can’t help you if you don’t know what you want. When you speak to your lawyer, you should have a clear purpose in mind for that meeting. What outcome are you looking for? What information do you need to convey, and how does it relate to your case?
Above all, respect your lawyer’s time. Don’t waste it on frivolities. The time they waste with you is time they’re not dedicating to winning your case.
3. Document What You Can
Preparation is the foundation of every strong case. Working with your lawyer to document everything that will be helpful in your case is one of the key strategies to victory.
Think about what evidence you can provide them, and where you can source it from. Documentation of this kind can come from a wide variety of sources, depending on the case.
It may be a statement from an alibi, bank records, or phone logs, for instance. The more material you can furnish your lawyer with, the stronger the foundation they’ll be able to build.
4. Prepare for Frustration
Law isn’t the only victim of misrepresentation via TV shows, but it’s one of the most prominent. Many lawyers find their victims have no idea what a criminal case looks like in real life.
And chief among those surprises is how slow and frustrating a real-world court case can be. That can lead to irritated clients lashing out at their lawyers when the lawyer is doing all they can.
As a client, you need to keep your cool and understand that legal processes take time. In many ways, it’s better that it takes a long time, as it allows your attorney to create the most complete case they can.
Of course, there’s also the possibility of the result not going your way. In these cases, it’s important to thank the lawyer for their work and leave your emotions at the wayside. You might still need their services, so you don’t want to burn bridges.
5. Keep Quiet
The old wartime saying applies well to criminal cases: loose lips sink ships.
Everything you say about your case should be to your lawyer — and no one else! No one but your lawyer can help your case, but there are plenty of ways you can sink it by talking to the wrong person. So the merits of staying silent are obvious.
Anything you say about your case to police, colleagues, even loved ones, could make its way into the courtroom. There’s a reason the right to remain silent exists.
Many defendants incriminate themselves through avoidable mistakes. They’ll write letters, make inappropriate phone calls, or say the wrong thing to the wrong person. It’s best to avoid any discussion of your case at all beyond your lawyer.
6. Do Your Part on the Day
When it comes to a trial, your lawyer will do a lot of heavy legal lifting. But you still have a key part to play beyond the things you say.
Make an effort. Dress well for your court appearance, respect the court, and maintain a humble attitude. If your lawyer wants you to present yourself a certain way, then pay attention and follow their advice.
This might even involve getting a new haircut. But if that gets you the result you want, then it’s a small price to pay.
Jurors are people, and they’re prone to all the usual biases. If you don’t present your best possible face to the jury, then that will factor into the decisions they make.
7. Listen to Them!
There’s no “expert” on a job quite like the person who has hired someone to do a job for them. This little psychological glitch in human thinking makes life difficult for all specialists out there.
It goes like this: you hire a criminal trial lawyer to handle the legal matters of the case. You then second-guess everything they do and assume you have a better idea of what they should be doing, despite having no legal qualifications.
This isn’t just frustrating for all involved — it can cause actual damage to your case. This is the kind of thinking that will cause you to make avoidable legal mistakes.
So if you hire a criminal trial lawyer, listen to what they say. They’ve trained for years to do what they do, and they’re guaranteed to no more about the best way to fight a case than you do.
Securing a Win with your Criminal Trial Lawyer
With these tips, you can make working with your criminal trial lawyer a breeze. That will reduce the pressure on you and give you the best possible shot at seeing your desired outcome.
You are still wondering exactly how it all works? Here are 5 things you can expect from your criminal defense lawyer.