Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer

By · July 13, 2010 · Filed in Criminal Cases

THESE QUESTIONS ARE DESIGNED TO HELP YOU FIGURE OUT WHETHER YOUR LAWYER IS DOING WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRIAL OR IF YOU ARE GOING FOR A PLEA BARGAIN LATER IN THE CASE!

Sometimes a case must be prepared for trial to get a good plea. To have an impact and to get good bargaining position you have to show the other side that you are prepared or are preparing for battle. This additional work is all the more important if you are planning on taking your case to trial regardless of any plea offers. You should ask the following:

1. The first thing you must decide for a trial is what are the legal defenses to the charges. Did someone else do the crime or is the eyewitness mistaken about what they saw? Even if I did something is the prosecution wrong about what was in my mind? What is our defense? What evidence can we develop to help prove our defense? Even though it is the job of the prosecution to “prove” the case, the more your team can do to “disprove” the case the better your chances are for a good verdict.

2. What is your strategy about preparing the defense? What investigation is needed? What expert witnesses are needed to help analyze our case? How much is that going to cost? What is the timetable for getting the defense ready? When do you think our trial will actually happen?

3. Make sure you give your lawyer straight information so he/she doesn’t go off on a theory that is hair brained or false. Give him as many witnesses you can think of that support your defense or support your good character. After a reasonable period of time ask him about his progress. Did you talk to the witnesses yet? What did they say? How do you feel about our case now?

4. As you get closer to trial make sure your lawyer has followed through on all of the ideas about investigation and experts that you discussed earlier. Have you subpoenaed all of the documents that we need? What more records do you need? Have you hired and consulted with the experts? How is our investigation coming along? Exactly what has the investigator done? What does the investigator still need to do?

5. One way to get comfortable with your lawyer and the state of your lawyer’s preparation is to ask him/her to tell you what the case is all about. If he can explain it to you in a convincing way then you know that he “gets it.” If the lawyer can’t explain it to you then you may have a problem.

6. You need to be prepared to spend considerable time with your lawyer preparing for trial and preparing for the possibility that you will testify. Am I going to take the witness stand? Will you prepare me for all questions including cross-examination?

At some point you must trust your lawyer to do the job preparing for and trying your case. Once you have developed that trust it is important to listen to what he/she says and follow their instructions. This is an area they know better than anyone and if you got yourself a good trial lawyer they are guided by their own instincts and motivation to win on your behalf.

William F. Nimmo is a well known criminal defense lawyer based out of San Diego whose firm handles violent crime and sexual assault cases throughout Southern California. Bill Nimmo was awarded the trial lawyer of the year award by the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association and in 2008 and 2010 was given a Top Criminal Attorney award by San Diego’s legal newspaper.

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