Like any other relationship, the professional relationship between a lawyer and their client can turn south and deteriorate if the parties do not have a clear understanding of what each can expect from the other. Nowhere is this truer than in the context of the criminal case. Both the criminal defendant and the defense attorney expect things from one another that are legitimate and ought to be met. By the same token, both defendants and their attorneys may make unreasonable demands of the other. These demands can lead ot a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship if they go unmet without explanation.
What Can You Expect from Your Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer?
The U.S. Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to have “effective” assistance from an attorney during all critical stages of a criminal proceeding. Neither the Constitution nor statutes, however, define exactly what is “effective” assistance. What is effective in any case will depend on the complexity of the case, the experience of the attorney, and the evidence and witnesses available for use and cross-examination. Nonetheless, a criminal defendant should reasonably expect their attorney to:
- Respond to communications in a timely manner. This does not mean instantaneous responses, as your attorney likely has other clients and cases. However, a defendant should expect their attorney to regularly keep in touch with them and answer questions within a reasonable time.
- Consult with them about important decisions in their case, such as whether to make or accept a plea offer, whether to testify at trial, and whether to call witnesses or present evidence as part of their defense are some of the issues that attorneys should speak with their clients about before making a decision, if possible. This does not mean every decision needs to be run by the client, though. If defense counsel asked the prosecution for an officer’s narrative or chemist’s analysis, for example, defense counsel may choose to give the prosecution additional time to turn those documents over rather than pursuing discovery sanctions without first clearing it with the client.
- Perform a reasonable investigation into the case. This includes reading the reports of law enforcement officers, identifying potential exculpatory evidence, and taking appropriate actions to protect the client’s constitutional and statutory rights.
What Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Expect from Clients?
Defense attorneys also have expectations of their clients. First, attorneys expect that their clients will be honest with them about the facts of their cases. Without honest information about what transpired or what evidence might be available, an attorney is unable to adequately prepare a suitable defense for the client. For example, if a client says that Witness A will say the client was at Witness A’s home on the night of a burglary, but Witness A actually says he does not know the client, the attorney’s ability to use Witness A is severely curtailed.
Ohio criminal defense attorneys also like when their clients keep their contact information updated with the attorney’s office. Sometimes, developments in a criminal case happen quickly and it is important for the attorney to consult with their client as soon as possible. Attorneys who are able to reach their clients are able to resolve issues that arise in cases quicker, which in turn can lead to a swifter (and potentially more favorable) resolution to the matter.
Dawes Legal, LLC wants our clients to have a positive experience working with our dedicated and compassionate Ohio criminal defense lawyers. When we accept your case, we will ensure you understand what we will need from you – and what you can expect to receive from us – throughout the duration of your case. Call to schedule a consultation with us today by dialing (614) 733-9999.