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The minutiae of rescheduling trial dates

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Sometimes I get called by a criminal defendant asking me to represent him or her for a trial taking place the next day or not too long after that. When I say that I will be delighted to defend but that I will be in a different courthouse that day, sometimes the response on the other end of the phone seems to be one of "Oh sh*t".

Certainly, those who earn too much money to qualify for indigent defense counsel but earn too little to pay much for a lawyer are squeezed into a pickle and often do not have what they think might be enough to pay for a lawyer until very close to the trial date. Even when that is so, defendants should meet early on with potential lawyers so that when they obtain funds to pay for an attorney, they will have an idea of which lawyers they are satisfied with in their price range.

When I am hired enough in advance of a trial date to be able to get a postponement, the minutiae of doing so can be tedious, but often unavoidable. Take a look, for instance, at Fairfax County, Virginia’s, new continuance policy for drunk driving trials. It is a flowchart of if-then approaches to resolving a mere date conflict in a criminal defense lawyer’s calendar.

My staff is a big help in dealing with the procedural minutiae to resolve conflicting court dates in multiple courthouses, and I thank my staff for this and everything else they do for my clients and me.