Clients and Families
Public Defense Services' departments represent people in criminal court facing a criminal complaint, mental health court facing court ordered treatment, and probate court in need of conservatorship; parents and children in juvenile court involved in a dependency or severance matter; and youth in juvenile court accused of a delinquency matter.
How to assist your attorney
Your attorney needs your help to obtain the best possible result in your case. Provide your attorney with all requested information quickly.
DO NOT discuss your case with anyone except your attorney and your attorney’s staff.
DO NOT talk about your case with cellmates, family members, friends, police officers, probation officers, detention officers or anyone else. The state could call these people to testify against you for statements you made to them about your case.
Mail and telephone calls
Your mail and telephone calls in jail may be monitored. DO NOT write letters or speak on the telephone about your case with anyone except your legal team.
When and where you will be required to be in Court
Appear on time for all scheduled court dates and legal appointments.
Failure to Appear
Failure to appear in court will result in a warrant for your arrest. If you fail to appear, call your attorney immediately.
How to dress for court
Your appearance is important. You should come dressed as you would for a job interview (business casual), a dinner at a nice restaurant, or a special event. You should not wear tank tops, shorts, or t-shirts with rude or offensive language or drug paraphernalia.
Providing information to your attorney
Give your attorney current addresses and telephone numbers. It is very important that your attorney be able to reach you at all times. If you move, or change phone numbers, immediately call your attorney and provide them with your new contact information.
Seeing a friend or a family member go through the criminal justice system or a dependency/severance action can be very difficult. Often friends and family members reach out to offer assistance.
Family members are a wonderful resource for gathering information and records or placement of our client's children. However, the attorney will only be able to work with family and friends on a case after the attorney has assesseded the case with the client and obtained the client's permission to work with the family and friends.
The primary job of our attorneys, contract attorneys, and employees is to provide legal counsel to clients. Attorneys are unable to provide family and friends with any information without the expressed permission of the client. Also, attorneys and legal staff are unable to provide legal advice to anyone except the individuals they have been appointed to represent.
In most instances, your legal file will be retained after completion of your case (after sentencing, probation, or dismissal) for 5 years if a misdemeanor or 7 years if a felony.
Your file will be destroyed according to the above mentioned schedule unless exceptional circumstances exist to maintain the file for a longer period of time. If you would like a copy of your file you MUST request it prior to its destruction.
Our offices follow the ethical rules regarding client confidentiality. As a result, only clients are able to receive a copy of their files.
Family members will not be permitted to obtain a copy without specific authorization from a client unequivocally communicating a waiver of confidentiality to the assigned attorney and specifically naming the individual entitled to receive a copy of the file.