Relatives And Your Defense - Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Comments
Relatives - Must my family members have a role in my Virginia criminal defense? Fairfax criminal lawyer weighs in.
Relatives often play an important role in the case of a Virginia DUI or criminal defendant. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I repeatedly interact with my clients' family members, who often are brought up early in my conversations with potential and retained Virginia criminal defendants, sometimes starting as early as a family member's being the first person to contact me. In the best of all possible worlds, the support and involvement of family members will be a blessing in a criminal defendant's case. In reality, the interaction among a criminal defendant, family members, and the criminal defense lawyer can run from very productive to shining the light on tensions that already existed among the defendant and his or her family members before the alleged criminal incident date. Virginia criminal defendants have no obligation to include their family members in preparation of their defense, but often do.
Why might I want my relatives involved in my Virginia criminal defense?
If you are fortunate, you will have the full moral support of your relatives. This is not always the case. Some Virginia criminal defense clients tell me of a parent who tells them that a conviction will bring a disgrace to the family. Some family members direct more than only one lecture to their Virginia criminal defendant family member. In any event, if your family members are morally supportive of you, you may wish to invite them to come to your court dates. If your family members are not fully morally supportive of you, you may still wish an extent of involvement by at least one or two of your family members, for them to help convey who you are to your Virginia criminal lawyer.
How should my Virginia lawyer and I integrate my family members into my defense, or not?
My client is my only client, so may tell me the extent to which s/he wants relatives involved in the client's case or not. Lawyers' professional conduct rules, confidentiality rules, and my client contractual provisions give me wide leeway in deciding the frequency and extent to which my clients' family members will be included in discussions I have with clients. Absent anything unusual, and occasionally, if my client wishes, I will include client-designated family members in occasional non-confidential discussions addressing the status of the defense and any input and sometimes testimony or reference letters that the family member might be able to provide.
Do my bilingual family members or cognition-assisting relatives get priority access to my Virginia criminal lawyer?
Some of my Virginia criminal defense clients have relatives who speak better English than they, or who claim that my client has cognition issues that the family member can help bridge. In many instances, none of that is enough of a barrier to require language interpretation or clarification. Moreover, we also have the option of involving a professional language interpreter, to avoid any family member serving a dual and possibly clashing role of interpreter and concerned relative. As to cognition related to possible psychological ailments, we can cross that bridge when needed, but this has rarely been a barrier for me and my clients.
Why are one-on-one communications critical with my Virginia criminal defense lawyer?
Make sure that the involvement of your relatives with your Virginia criminal lawyer does not amount to your abdicating remaining focused and as a full team member with your attorney. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that a group discussion with a criminal defense lawyer sometimes will include some people talking over each other, one or more people trying to dominate the conversation, and one or more people asking to be caught up on the status of the case. If any of these dynamics take place during such a group discussion, you will be able to resume one-on-one communications with your attorney the next time your family members and friends are present.
Should I candy-coat or prevaricate when my relatives are present during a consultation with my lawyer?
Just as my clients must never tell me falsehoods, they must not do that when talking with both me and any of their relatives. Plenty of my clients who will have no hesitation to tell me some of their most sensitive, embarrassing, and dark information will be tempted to candy-coat and falsify information when their friends or family members are present. First, my clients must never tell me falsehoods. Second, it is not my job to assure that you are not telling any falsehoods to anyone about your case, even when I am not present. You have no obligation to tell anyone anything you do not want to tell. Silence ordinarily is not a falsehood. If you do tell a falsehood to anyone about your criminal defense case, that could end up biting you in the butt in unexpected ways.
Through successfully defending thousands of defendants, Fairfax criminal lawyer knows that many dynamics can be involved in working together with both his clients accused of Virginia DUI, felony and misdemeanor offenses, and he offers a tailor-made approach in each instance while pursuing your best defense. Call 703-383-1100 for your free initial in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case.