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Crime.Justice & America - Ask a Lawyer - "How to Make Your Lawyer Work for You" by Richard Poland

"Better education means better justice. Better education means a higher standard for government to insure proper prosecution and incarceration. Better education means reduced recidivism, and in turn, less financial burden on society".

 "How to Make Your Lawyer Work for You" by Richard Poland

How to Make Your Lawyer Work for You


With 27 years of experience, criminal defense attorney Richard Poland, writes about the best way to work with your lawyer.

Public versus Private defense

If you’re charged with a crime, you need representation. Hiring a lawyer increases the odds of successful resolution. This is not to say the public defender doesn’t do a good job. Public defenders are devoted lawyers, who try their best for you. However, they have many cases and often cannot devote substantial time to you. Private lawyers have fewer demands on their time and can work with you more closely.

Public defenders are in court every day. So just speaking with them is tough. Most private lawyers are in their offices until 7:00 p.m., to offer their working clients appointments without losing work time. This means you have more opportunity to spend more time with a private attorney. And sometimes the difference between a good outcome and one that’s unsatisfactory is the time you spend with your lawyer.

How do you get your lawyer to work for you?

You need to answer his questions. Even private lawyers have limited amounts of time they can devote to your case. When your attorney asks you a question, answer it completely, truthfully and forthrightly. Answer until all possible responses are complete. I can’t tell you the number of times clients told me something new while picking a jury for trial.

Give your lawyer the truth and plenty of it.

Do I need an attorney if I’m guilty?

If the State has sufficient evidence to prove its case, it is often counter-productive to attempt to avoid a finding of guilty.

But “guilty” is a legal conclusion that should be made by a lawyer. Even if you’ve done the act charged, whether the People can prove you guilty or not, should be determined by an experienced defense lawyer.

If your lawyer does think the charge can be proven, he should direct you on a course to reduce the charges and mitigate the sentence. To do this, he needs to know all about you. He’ll want to know things like?

  • Do you have a family you support?
  • Are any of your children disabled?
  • Does your employer know about the charges?
  • Will your boss assist you if a work release program is appropriate?
  • Have you done good works in the community?
  • Are you a volunteer?
  • Do you do church work?
  • Did you witness a crime and testify?
  • Have you been in psychological counseling?

Getting to not guilty

If you’re not guilty but you’ve been arrested, a lot of people will assume you’re guilty. Your lawyer has seen this all before and has dealt with thousands of witnesses. Give your lawyer any evidence you have, and show up with witnesses. Your lawyer can immediately do interviews, view evidence, and make determinations about credibility, reliability, and value. You save a lot of unnecessary time by eliminating the need to search or wait for witnesses, and cut out the telephone tag that occurs in all attempts to interview witnesses. This lets your lawyer direct his time and legal talents to your benefit, instead of waiting and searching.

Finally, be prompt for your appointments, your payments, and other obligations. Make your lawyer feel like you value his efforts to help you by keeping your end of the bargain. Your lawyer, during this time, is not only your friend, but he may be your only friend.

For more information on legal services offered by Richard Poland, please call 562-437-6418.

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