The biggest advantage, especially when it comes to an assault charge, involves time. A private attorney is going to have more time to review the case, investigate the case, and actually sit down with you to go over the details and the defenses.
This answer does depend on the public defender who is assigned to your case. At one hearing, it may be one individual; at the next hearing, it may be somebody else. You can try to get in touch with your public defender between hearings, which may or may not lead to a discussion about the case. This is usually one of the complaints I hear when people come to me after having had an experience with the public defender’s office. The chief complaint is that they simply aren’t available for you. That’s not always the case, though.
You do need to be careful, because sometimes, you won’t necessarily get the same experience or zealous advocacy with the private attorney as you might get with the public defender. A client must do his homework on who is being hired, if that’s the route chosen.
Generally speaking, hiring a private attorney means accessibility, availability, time to discuss the case, time to investigate, and time to build that familiarity.
For example, in my firm, I have an investigator I typically use, even though he doesn’t work for me. I typically use him when I require his expertise. As a result of our ongoing relationship, I have the familiarity with how he works. He knows how I like to do things and what questions I like to have answered.
When I meet with clients, I meet with them personally. We sit down for 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes an hour-and-a-half to 2 hours to discuss the case; depending on the need. We don’t allow any side to feel rushed. Rushing sometimes leads to more information being released than the client is ready to release. This interaction will help build a relationship. The client knows I have his or her best interest in mind. When I make a recommendation for a certain course of action, they know it’s because I have their best interest in mind, not my own.
What is the Potential Length of An Assault Case?
This will depend largely on the case and the details associated with the case. Generally speaking, most misdemeanor cases that come through my office last anywhere from 5 to 6 months, maybe a little bit longer or shorter. This is the ballpark, though.
Most felony cases last somewhere between 3 to 4 months, depending on the severity. Obviously the more severe an assault case gets, the longer the case lasts. This also depends on how much investigation was necessary and what must be done before we make an accurate assessment of the case with the world of information that we have for that case and decide where to go from there.
How Important is it For a Defendant To Disclose All Pertinent Information to Their Attorney?
It’s extremely important for them to disclose anything and everything that could affect the case. Even if they don’t think it will affect the case, erring on the side of caution is always much better. I need to assume that the DA has at least as much information as I do.
Obviously, it’s not good if I’ve built up a defense, and that defense is completely negated by some kind of prior conviction that you didn’t disclose or by some other contact with law enforcement that perhaps didn’t lead to charges. The DA may use this against you if you testify.
A full disclosure should never be an issue, especially because once somebody becomes a client, even during initial consultation, we build the attorney-client confidentiality. Anything that we talk about is completely protected. Nobody can compel me to disclose that information. The only way that it becomes disclosed is if you agree to allow me to do so. With very limited exceptions, such as if you tell me of a crime that you intend to commit, this confidentiality will protect our discussions.
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