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What Information Should I Share with My Criminal Attorney?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Jun 18, 2020

What information is critical to share with my Los Angeles criminal defense attorney? Could my medical history be helpful or used against me?

If you think something is relevant to your case, like your medical history, you should share it with your attorney. Let your attorney make the decision of whether something is relevant.

But don't hide things from your attorney, don't just give your attorney things you think are helpful, and don't try to put a spin on whatever information that you have.

That's one thing that I have to kind of cut people off from. Sometimes they begin to tell me a story, and I can tell the whole story is their version of events, their spin on things versus telling me first why they got arrested.

In other words, don't tell me a story. If at the end of the story I look at you and ask, “Why are you here?” You didn't do anything wrong, and that's usually the story that I'm getting versus telling me what the police think happened.

If you have a different perspective related to the account, give that information to your attorney. That way your attorney has all the pieces of the puzzle, at least from your perspective. Now, from where I sit, I'm not going to get some of the other pieces of the puzzle so that I can get the full picture.

I'm going to get the pieces of the puzzle from the prosecutor. I'm going to say, “Hey, why did my client get arrested? Why do you guys have these charges pending against them?” And, then I'm going to listen and take notes.

Once I get the answers, I'm going to review all of the information that I get from the prosecutor related to the case and conduct my own investigation. I might use an investigator if it makes sense in that particular case. Once I have the full picture, I can advise the client on the best course of action.

Letters and Character Witness Information

Is it helpful to gather things like information or letters, character witnesses, etc? If so, what is the best approach to do so or does my attorney do that for me?

It can be helpful to gather letters and character witness information. It is not a bad idea to gather that type of information. But again, your attorney should be your guide, and it depends on the type of case and the circumstances surrounding the case.

What Information Should I Share with My Los Angeles Criminal Attorney?

If your attorney tells you in the initial interview to start to gather character letters, then you can go ahead and put together a package for your attorney. But don't just start doing things without consulting first with your attorney because that might end up hurting your case.

When I meet with people who talk to other attorneys, I feel like sometimes the attorneys give the defendants something to do to just shut them up. I don't do that. If I don't think you need to gather something or do something, I'm not going to have you waste your time.

Most of the time, it's going to be me doing the work. You're hiring me as your attorney to take care of business for you. So, let me do that. If I need something from somebody, I will let that person know. If I give you those type of instructions, I expect for you to follow through because it will help your case.

Los Angeles Criminal Courtroom Etiquette

What should someone expect at the Los Angeles criminal court proceedings that they could face in a misdemeanor or a felony case? What is proper courtroom etiquette for your clients?

It depends on the type of appearance. Most of the appearances in criminal court usually are relatively quick once the case is called. Sometimes, it takes a minute to get everybody there.

The Judge could show up, but the prosecutor could be late. They might be waiting for a witness. But, most criminal defense appearances are pretty quick, and if you have a private lawyer, you can usually get to the front of the line and get out of there quickly.

A lot of times, the lawyers are negotiating and talking to each other. Sometimes, your attorney's trying to get information from the prosecutor, such as discovery videotapes, or other information that's relevant to your case.

So, I would say to get there on time, and to let your attorney do what they do without any interference from you. I've had some clients that are so nervous that they end up getting in the way. They've got to be talked to and told what's going on every step of the way inside the courtroom while the attorney is trying to make moves for them.

Attorney's don't really need their help other than to be there on time and follow the instructions. Usually, I don't have any problems with clients because I explain things pretty thoroughly and let them know exactly what's going to happen.

If they do have some sort of question, or if they're confused, we can step out of the courtroom, sit down, and go over everything. But, you should trust your attorney because you hired them. You did the research on them.

If you spoke to me, and looked at my videos and reviews, you should have a good idea that I am a successful criminal defense attorney. I get good results for my clients. But, it's because I get a level of trust from the client that gets them to realize that I'm trying to do everything I possibly can to help them with their case.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.