5 Things You Should Understand About Your Defense Attorney's Trial Behavior

Posted on: 5 August 2015

Your criminal defense attorney may seem like a puzzle to you, and some of his or her behaviors could have you doubting their competence or motivation for helping you. There are five things you should know about an attorney's trial behavior, so that you can remain confident with your defense.

1. Your lawyer won't pop up like a jack-in-the-box to object every time a prosecutor skirts the rules during trial.

That behavior often appears in TV shows, but in real life your attorney will probably stand calmly and raise an objection in an ordinary voice.

There are several reasons why your attorney won't make every objection you might think they would make. These include:

  • By objecting to a question or answer, the jury could conclude the attorney is trying to obfuscate evidence or testimony.
  • Too many objections could annoy the judge and/or the jury and cause them to not take your attorney seriously.
  • Your attorney is aware that the questioning or testimony is actually permissible and legal.
  • An objection may draw too much attention to a detail that the attorney hopes will go unnoticed or be forgotten.
  • The objection could throw off the attorney's overall strategy.

2. Conversely, you might be surprised with the objections and issues your attorney does raise or the details that they take pains to emphasize.

Your lawyer could raise an objection to something you may think is unimportant. However, they may do it because the issue could be a basis for an appeal later, if need be.

Your attorney may also be emphasizing certain details to slowly build a chain of logic or evidence that will make more sense as the trial proceeds.

3. They may ask you to consider a bench trial (instead of a jury trial) for a couple of good reasons.

There could be technical or legal evidence that a judge would better appreciate than a jury made up of non-legal-savvy persons likely would. Your attorney may make certain motions that allow the judge to see certain evidence that could not actually be admitted in a jury trial, and your attorney is hoping this will subtly influence the judge's ultimate decision.

4. The details they ignore or leave out may be for a sound legal reason.

There could be evidence or testimony that you think is relevant, that your attorney may want to leave out of the trial. This could be because it does not conform with the rules of evidence that are established by law and precedent.

5. If they discourage you from testifying in your own behalf, this too is usually for good reasons.

Your attorney may actually want you to testify so they can bring in some point of evidence that could not be entered otherwise, but testifying in your own behalf is always risky.

This is because once you testify, then this may open the door for the prosecutor to introduce your prior crimes or past unwise actions that would not be admissible otherwise. The attorney may also fear you could be tripped up by the prosecutor when he or she cross-examines you.

A judge or jury could also be put off by your demeanor, or they may interpret certain mannerisms and gestures you have as indicators that you are lying. Finally, it is a prosecutor's job to convince the judge/jury that you are "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," and your testimony could be distracting and unnecessary.

For more information, contact a law firm like Rutter and Sleeth Law Offices.