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Criminal law: Coaching a defendant before trial

Most Florida residents have never been through a criminal trial before. As such, they may not know what to expect in the process if they have to go to court to defend themselves against criminal charges.

Will they have to speak in front of the judge and jury? What will they say? Is there anything they should or shouldn't say, and how should they comport themselves?

The questions, worries and concerns of a defendant before trial can be overwhelming and stress-inducing. For this reason, most criminal defense lawyers will coach their clients to help them put their best feet forward at trial. There are many ways that lawyers will prepare their defendants.

Sometimes they set up mock-interviews so defendants know what to expect before they are deposed or before they are questioned at trial. They may also take defendants to crime scenes so that they can jog their memories about the events that occurred.

Other times, they help defendants write down and record exactly what happened from their points of view. They can also explain the legal theories that the prosecution will employ against the defendant and also explain the defense theories that will be used to answer the prosecution.

All of this can help the defendant understand what kinds of information they should produce during their testimony.

When a defendant is fully prepared before trial, when he or she understands the laws and potential punishments at issue and when the defendant fully understands the facts being used against him or her, it can be enormously helpful for his or her case. It can also help the defendant make informed decisions throughout the criminal court process.

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