Criminal Defense Client Decisions When Represented by a Lawyer

When a criminal defendant has a lawyer representing them, there are certain decisions that absolutely belong to the client.

You, as the client, have to decide whether to plead guilty or accept an offer made by the prosecutor. While the criminal defense lawyer is obligated to deliver all offers to their client and discuss all pertinent matters relating to the plea, the final decision belongs to the client.

You also have to decide whether to testify if your case goes to trial. Neither the judge, the prosecutor, nor your defense attorney can make you testify in your own defense.

You also have to decide whether to waive a jury trial. That means you determine who will decide your guilt or innocence at trial, the judge or a jury of your peers.

Some decisions belong to the criminal defense attorney.

The lawyer can decide whether to waive speedy trial. In a misdemeanor case, you are entitled to a trial within 90 days from the date you are arrested. In a felony case, you are entitled to a trial within 175 days from the day you are arrested. Your criminal defense lawyer can decide if he or she needs more time to prepare your case.

Your attorney also determines which motions to file in your case.

Ultimately, the lawyer can decide the means to achieve the objectives you have set in your case. This includes strategy and tactics. When there is a disagreement, the criminal defense lawyer can, or should, defer to your wishes.

If you have any questions about criminal charges, please contact our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys at (904) 634-0900.