How to Communicate Effectively with Your Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Engaged lawyer talking to client - communicating with your defense attorney concept

When you have been charged with a crime, effective communication with your criminal defense attorney is crucial to the success of your case. Your lawyer will guide you through the criminal process and ensure you take the proper steps to defend yourself and protect your rights. But to maximize your lawyer’s effectiveness, she will need your assistance.

Trust and effective communication are cornerstones of a successful attorney-client relationship and the foundation of an effective defense strategy.

Here, we explain why clear and honest communication is the bedrock of an effective defense strategy and describe how to get the most out of communication with your defense attorney.

Attorney Client Communication Built on Trust and Transparency

The attorney-client relationship is built on trust. When you have been accused of a crime, you must feel comfortable discussing every element of your case with your attorney, no matter how embarrassing or incriminating it may seem. Complete transparency when communicating with your defense lawyer will ensure your attorney knows everything she can about your case so she fully understands the situation and can prepare the most effective defense strategy.

Everything you discuss with your lawyer is confidential and subject to the attorney-client privilege. As the client, the attorney-client privilege is yours to assert, and it is up to you if you want to share something you discussed with your lawyer. Other than a few very limited exceptions, your lawyer cannot talk about anything you discussed with her. Conversations between an attorney and her client are legally privileged, and no one, not even the judge, can ask about those discussions.

Providing accurate information is critical to the outcome of a case. Incomplete or inaccurate information will hinder your defense, making your attorney less effective and reducing the likelihood of a successful result. A seemingly trivial detail could have a significant impact on your case. Your lawyer is relying on you to tell her all the information you can so she can craft a defense that is tailored to the unique circumstances of your case.

One of the most challenging situations for a criminal defense lawyer is when her client does not tell her an important piece of information, and she first learns about it during trial. When you tell your lawyer everything, she can design a defense strategy to address the specific circumstances of your case and create a plan to address potentially damaging information.

Similarly, your attorney will strive to be honest and forthright in her communications with you. She will explain your options and the possible consequences of the decisions you make, and will help you make informed choices about plea bargains, taking your case to trial, and trial strategy.

How to Communicate with Your Attorney

Effective communication with your criminal defense lawyer begins during your initial consultation. During your first meeting, your lawyer is relying on you to explain the details of your case. In addition to discussing the specifics of the crime you are accused of, she will also discuss a plan for effective attorney-client communication. This communications plan should include:

How to Contact You? What is the best number to reach you? Do you prefer a phone call, or is a text message better? Can she email you? Is your email address confidential? What should she do if she urgently needs to reach you?

When to Contact You? What is the best time to reach you? Should she call you at work, or do you prefer to take calls at home? What is the best way to contact you in a time-sensitive situation?

How Often to Contact You? How frequently do you want to hear from your lawyer? Of course, your lawyer will provide you with updates on the status of your case. Some people prefer an update every week or every two weeks, while others only want an update when there is new information about your case.

The Importance of Regular Communication with Your Defense Attorney

The stakes are high when you are facing criminal charges in federal court. To ensure your lawyer can provide you with the best criminal defense she can, it is important to stay in regular contact with your lawyer. Consistent, effective communication ensures you are aware of your rights and the status of your case so you can make informed decisions.

Regular communication allows your attorney to keep you up to date on your case and enables her to verify new information as it comes to light through her investigation.

You Have a Constitutional Right to Speak to An Attorney

Speaking to a prosecutor or law enforcement officer can have grave consequences. If a law enforcement agent contacts you, you have a constitutional right to request to have a lawyer and direct them to contact my office. You are not required to speak to the government.

Similarly, avoid talking to other people involved with the case, such as an alleged victim or potential witnesses or codefendants. If you have an idea about something that you think might help your case, discuss it with your lawyer.

Do Not Post About Your Case on Social Media

Do not post about your case on social media. Courts have ruled that a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in information posted on social media. Anything you share on social media is fair game, so it is best not to use it at all during a criminal case.

Contact Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Hope Lefeber for the Help You Need

To ensure an effective and successful defense, you and your criminal defense lawyer must work together as a team. Remember, you hired a criminal defense lawyer for a reason. The final decision in a criminal case lies with the client, but an experienced attorney knows the procedural requirements and substantive law at issue in your case and can help you navigate the legal process to achieve a successful result.

To learn more about how federal criminal defense attorney Hope Lefeber can help you, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation.