10 Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer

Posted By Bill Nimmo & Raymond Gomez, Attorneys at Law || 24-Jun-2015

These questions are designed to help you determine whether your lawyer is doing what they are supposed to be doing to gather information and prepare to advise you to plea or go to trial:

If you are involved in a criminal case you should monitor your lawyer's progress. It is important to see not only if your lawyer is doing their job but also it is important for you to be involved in your case. An informed client makes better decisions about their life and their future! If you find that your lawyer is not doing his/her job, knowing this will help you prod them into action or give you motivation to seek other counsel.

In the early stages of your case it is important to gather information and develop a case strategy. You should ask the following questions:

  1. Have you gotten all of the police reports, audio and videotapes of witness statements, and other “discovery” from the district attorney’s office?
  2. After ensuring that the attorney has reviewed everything ask him how the evidence looks? What is the bad evidence? What are the weak spots in their case? Do we need to do any investigation to clear up or develop evidence that would help?
  3. After you have a clear understanding of the case against you ask the attorney what he advises you do? Should I plead? Should I go to trial? Should I go to preliminary hearing? Why?
  4. Once you have determined your general goal ask your attorney what his strategy is for attaining that goal. When does he expect to make a deal? Is there anything needed to be done before that date to help make the deal happen?
  5. Sometimes the preliminary hearing is a good place to air out the evidence and show the prosecution that their case is weaker than they think. Are we going to do that? Is it better to waive prelim so the record won’t show how bad the facts are for us?
  6. Sometimes the deals are better before the prelim and sometimes the deals are better after the prelim. This can be a factor of which judge will preside over the different settlement conferences. Where does your attorney recommend that you plead and why?
  7. If you decide to plea, ask your attorney what his goal is for your sentencing. Am I going to have a psychological evaluation? Are you going to need letters from friends and employers? What can I do to help you get ready for sentencing?
  8. Ask your lawyer what sentencing alternatives are available. Can I get work furlough? Can I do community service? Do you think the judge would consider a drug rehabilitation program?
  9. Once you plead you will be interviewed by the probation officer. Ask your attorney how you should handle the interview with the probation officer. Should you discuss the facts of the case with him? Is there anything about my life that you think I should tell him? What kind of attitude show I have when I interview with him? What should I wear? How are my hair and my general appearance?
  10. If you go to a sentencing hearing, ask your attorney what his plan is for the hearing. What is the judge like who is going to sentence me? Are you going to submit a written sentencing memorandum? Are you going to call any witnesses? Why or why not? Who does he want to have present? Does he want me to speak? What should I say?
Categories: Criminal Defense