Frequently asked questions FOR
WEBER LAW EXISTING CLIENTS
What is the process for a criminal case?
The criminal process can be divided into several stages: Investigation Stage, Pre-trial Stage, Trial Stage, and Post-Conviction Stage.
The beginning of every case is an investigation. This is where a police officer researches and interviews witnesses. Sometimes we can participate in investigations by providing officers with information that would help you.
After investigation, the Officer will either issue a citation or send the case to the Prosecutor to be screened. If the Prosecutor determines that the case has a reasonable likelihood of conviction, he or she will file charges. Once the charge is filed it will be heard in the court. Most appearances (or court hearings) at the beginning of a case are conferences where the lawyers can speak with each other and discuss the case, then report to the judge. These types of hearings require very little participation from the client. The primary purpose of this stage of the criminal process allows the parties (your attorney and the prosecutor) to review the evidence and attempt to negotiate a case settlement. If no agreement is reached the case will proceed to motions, evidentiary hearings, or trial.
If your case goes to trial, a judge or jury will hear all of the evidence about your case and make a decision about guilt or innocence.
After the trial will be conviction/sentencing where a penalty or other court requirements such as probation, fines, or community service may be imposed.
Depending on the result of your case, you may file an appeal or you may work through your sentence or probation.
SOME HELPFUL TERMS:
Arraignment – is the first stage of courtroom-based criminal proceedings, after the arrest, booking, and initial bail phases.
Bench Trial – A bench trial is a trial by judge, as opposed to trial by jury.
Jury Trial – A jury trial is a trial by jury, as opposed to bench trial.
When will you update me about my case?
Your lawyer will update you on strategy in Court. This means you will be updated at court every time you’re scheduled for a court appearance. We prefer in-court communication because we have all tools and regarding the case at our disposal and we can focus on a single case at a time. Prosecutors, judges, and witnesses can all be accessed at court as well as evidence, police reports, and court documents. We can also take action based on what we discuss in court. Communication in court is the preferred way of communicating with your lawyer. Your lawyer will also update you over the phone or in-person as the need comes when there is a major case development between court hearings, but this is usually not necessary.
If you do not receive proactive case update communications about your case DON’T WORRY! That doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. We are usually just working on your case and will update you the next time we see you. Should you find yourself in need of a quick update i.e: Court Dates, Documents that you are waiting for or if you want to schedule an appointment with your lawyer for a phone or in-person meeting, please reach out to your lawyer’s assistant.
What should I wear to court and how should I act in court?
Contrary to what some people may say, you do not need to dress up you just need to dress nicely. Tank tops and sleepers are never allowed in Courts. We recommend you wear a shirt and tie if you’re a gentleman or a nice dress if you’re a lady whenever you go to court. When your case is called, you will come to stand next to your attorney and he will do all the talking with the judge or the prosecutor. You will not need to say anything unless your attorney tells you to. Be very careful that you don’t approach witnesses who may testify in your case because it could be seen as witness tampering. Your presence in the court is highly important but once you take your seat you can leave the rest to your lawyer.
What should I do when I get to court?
You should go inside your designated courtroom and wait for your lawyer inside. Waiting inside is highly recommended rather than waiting outside because if the judge calls your name and you’re not there, he might think that you are not present, move forward to other cases, and may issue a warrant. If the judge calls you and your lawyer is not there yet, you can tell them that your attorney is on his way. If your court is video court, just make sure to log on at the time of court. You should log on to video court from a device separate from your phone so that you can take phone calls from your lawyer while you are still observing court.
Should I come to court early so I can meet with my lawyer?
No. It is not necessary to come to court early. Court hearings usually have multiple people scheduled in the same time slot. You should just come on time. You will have plenty of time to discuss your case with your lawyer at court in a court-provided conference room before your case is called. In video cases, your lawyer will call you at the time of the video court.
What should I do if my attorney is late?
Don’t stress. This does not represent a crisis in the case. Although we will strive to be in your court hearing on time all the time there may be some instances where your attorney may run in late for your hearing. It is important to know that the Judge and the Court usually understand that due to the distance between courts, lawyers may be late from time to time. So, if this happens don’t panic, simply exchange an SMS with your lawyer and his or her assistant to get updates on your attorney’s estimated time of arrival. If your name is called and your attorney is not there simply let the Court know that your attorney is on his way. The court should skip you and move to the next person on the list while waiting for your attorney.
What if I can’t make it to court?
You should let the attorney assistant know right away so that we can request to reschedule court or a request for you to be excused. MERELY MAKING THE REQUEST TO RESCHEDULE OR THE REQUEST TO BE EXCUSED DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE BEEN EXCUSED. Unless you receive official confirmation from our office that you are not required to be in court, you must be in court at the assigned time. Unless you have received a court order from a judge your court hearing is still on. If you are excused, it is possible that we sometimes can handle a case by affidavit. That means that we can work out a deal in advance, get the deal in writing and then have you sign and notarize the deal from another state or country. These types of requests are usually only granted if you do not live in the state or have exceptional emergencies. It is usually to your advantage to always try to be present at court.
What are you guys doing on my case before my first court hearing?
We are checking for new charges, filing notices with the court that we will be your lawyer so that the court and the opposing side should communicate directly with us, we are sending demands for evidence to the prosecutor (including video, photographs, police reports, witness statements, and lab results) which the prosecutors must share with us.
If your case is still under investigation meaning the prosecutor has yet to decide if they will file a case against you or not, our firm’s attention will all be focused on trying to stop the case before it gets screened.
When can I get back the property that the police took from me?
Police will usually take your property that can be considered as evidence. If so, you may expect that they will keep it until the case is resolved. Some properties may not be returned such as consumables or weapons.
How should I interact with possible witnesses while this case is going on?
Do not divulge any information regarding your case. As we do our best to defend you, we ask that you consult with us first before you say or do anything that may have an impact on your case including communicating with any witness. NEVER ask a witness to not come to court or to lie about the case. It can be considered witness tampering or obstruction of justice both of which are crimes.
How should I interact with people whom the police are claiming I hurt while this case is going on?
You should not interact with any person that police are claiming you hurt while your case is ongoing unless you have the OK of your lawyer. The same is true if the third party is the one trying to communicate with you. Just because they reached out to you first does not mean you want to communicate with them. It will be in your best interest to reach out to your lawyer and let your lawyer know.
May I talk about this case while the case is going on?
It will be in your best interest not to talk about the case to anyone while the case is still going on. Should a need ever arise, please inform the other party (police, social workers, private investigators) to reach out to your attorney to discuss the case instead of discussing it with you. If you or your loved one is incarcerated, do not talk about the substance of the case over the phone. ALL JAIL PHONE CALLS ARE RECORDED.
Why won’t the prosecutor simply drop my case?
The Prosecutor’s job is to file criminal charges, if they think they have enough evidence to charge an individual with a crime they will not drop the case and will proceed with pursuing criminal charges. This does not mean they are bad people, it just means that they will almost always aggressively pursue the case assuming the worst about you until and unless we prove otherwise. Lawyers must always aggressively represent their client. Prosecutors are no different. Sometimes we can get cases completely dismissed based upon persuasion of prosecutors. When this happens it is usually a prolonged process and requires a lot of supporting documentation.
What if I haven’t been charged yet?
You need to follow your lawyer’s advice about how to deal with this scenario. Our paralegals regularly check for charges. You should not reach out to any law enforcement officials about your case without the help of the attorney. You should refrain from destroying evidence or tampering with witnesses. If you see multiple attorney ad mailings come to your mailbox, then you know that charges have been filed and you should call our office immediately. Send us copies of any and all correspondence you receive about the case during this period.
Who is my first point of contact?
Your first point of contact is your Lawyer’s assistant. If you don’t have your lawyer’s direct number or your lawyer’s assistant’s direct phone number, please call our existing client hotline at 801-871-9132.
What if I can’t get ahold of anyone at your office?
There will be days where we may miss your call but it does not mean we will ignore you. Should you reach the voicemail in your attempt to reach your first point of contact, please go ahead and leave a message and your POC will get back to you asap. Alternatively, you may also send your POC an SMS or go to our contact page and leave us a webform message. (reminder: Please select the proper field which is “I am already an existing client” for your message to reach the correct party immediately.)