Alabama’s criminal code is complicated. When you are dealing with federal charges, things get even more confusing for those who do not deal with the law regularly.
This is one of the reasons you need a defense attorney after you have been arrested. Your lawyer’s knowledge of criminal procedure and your strategic options for dealing with the charges are invaluable tools. So is their advice. The fact that they are not the person being charged means their judgment is not clouded by understandable emotions like fear or anger. They can break down the prosecution’s case for you and help you understand your options.
Your advocate, not your boss
But there is a difference between being a legal advisor and advocate and being in charge of the case. As the client, you are the one facing serious criminal charges. You deserve to have a say in your defense. If you don’t, your lawyer could resolve your case in a way that you don’t want, didn’t ask for, but will have a profound impact on your life.
For example, the prosecution might offer you a plea bargain which would reduce the charges against you and keep you out of prison. But your lawyer is convinced they can fight the charges in court and deliver a not-guilty verdict. The decision whether to accept the plea deal or go to trial should be yours, not your attorney’s. But if you don’t speak up (or they don’t listen), your lawyer will not know what your preference is.
Open communication is vital
Remember, in Alabama, virtually everything you say to your defense attorney is privileged, meaning it cannot be used as evidence against you. Communication between attorney and client is key to obtaining a fair outcome.