New Client Advice

Dos and Don’ts
Whether or not you are guilty of the charges filed against you, you will want to follow this general advice. In addition, your attorney may provide additional instructions.

What You Should Not Do

Talk about your case.
If anyone tries to talk to you about your charges, you should tell them that you cannot talk with them unless your attorney is present. Sometimes a police officer or other law enforcement officer might try to talk with you after you have been arrested. They may even promise to speak on your behalf at a later time or agree to reduce or withdraw your charges. Unfortunately, these promises cannot always be enforced.

Talk to friends or family about your charges.
If the police or the prosecutor find out that you made statements to these people, they could be summoned as witnesses against you and be forced to testify against you. Even innocent statements by you may later be turned into something that makes it appear that you are guilty, even if you are not.

Things You Should Do

Write down everything you remember about your case.
Take the time to remember everything you can about the charges against you. Where were you? Who was with you? What were you doing? Sometimes even the smallest bit of information can be helpful in developing your defense. If you have the names of any witnesses, try to get their addresses and telephone numbers.

Whenever you appear in court, show respect for the judge.
The way you behave in court can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. It can affect the amount and type of your bail which is set at your preliminary arraignment. The impression you make on the judge can influence whether the judge believes you and your witnesses. Always be calm and polite.

At your preliminary hearing, listen to your attorney.
In most cases, your attorney will not have you testify at your preliminary hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to find out what evidence the police have against you. If you testify, the prosecutor will be allowed to ask you questions. This could confuse you or hurt your case later. You should listen carefully and follow the instructions of your attorney.

Notify the public defender immediately if you are arrested on other charges.
The Public Defender's Office does not receive any notice of new charges filed against you. If you are contacted by the police, rearrested or receive a summons in the mail concerning new charges, you should contact the Public Defender's Office immediately. If you do not do this, there may not be an attorney present to represent you at the time of your hearing.

Contact the public defender if you are released from jail, move or change your telephone number.
It is very important for the public defender to be able to contact you. Whenever there is a change in your status, you should contact the office and let us know where you are. This is very important when we are preparing your defense and may affect the outcome of your case.