Information for Clients
The Maricopa County Office of the Legal Advocate represents people charged with or appealing their conviction of criminal acts, those facing or appealing mental health commitments, and minor children in dependency actions as directed by the Superior Court of Maricopa County.
The Court assigns our office to represent indigent defendants, and we are not permitted to take private clients or assume representation of a client without appointment by the Court.
Working With Your Attorney
It takes time, sometimes several months, for a case to move through the courts. During that time, you can do many things to assist your attorney in working on your case.
- Be on time for court and other legal appointments. If you are delayed for any reason, call your attorney.
Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney or our office staff. Since anything you say may be used against you in trial, you should not discuss the case in person or on the phone with:
- Detention officers
- Family members
- Other inmates
- Probation officers
- Dress appropriately for court.
- Give your attorney copies of all relevant documents.
- Give your attorney a list of possible witnesses.
- Maintain regular contact with your attorney.
Provide current contact information including your:
- Home and work addresses
- Home, work, mobile, and message phone numbers
- Let your attorney know immediately if any of these change.
- Remember that all personal telephone calls made from the jail may be recorded.
Decisions In Your Case
The client always gets to decide:
- Whether to go to trial or to take a plea agreement.
- Whether or not to testify.
- Whether or not to appeal after being convicted at trial.
- Whether to file a post-conviction relief (PCR).
- Note: unlike an appeal, the client is responsible for obtaining and filing PCR paperwork in a timely fashion
- Which motions to file.
- Whether to object in court.
- Which witnesses to call.
- Which issues to raise on Appeals and PCR filings.
In most instances, your legal file will be retained after completion of your case (a sentencing, probation, or dismissal) for 5 years if a misdemeanor case or 7 years if a felony.
At the scheduled time, your file will be destroyed unless exceptional circumstances exist. You may request a copy of the file prior to destruction under this schedule.
Because of the ethical rules followed by all attorneys in our office and because of the high regard this office holds for client confidentiality, only clients are able to receive a copy of a file.
Family members will not be permitted to obtain a copy without specific authorization from a client unequivocally communicating a waiver of confidentially to the assigned attorney and specifically naming the individual entitled to receive a copy of the file.
What is a Legal Advocate?
A Legal Advocate attorney has graduated from an American Bar Association accredited law school, has passed the Arizona bar exam, and has a license to practice law.
Our Legal Advocate attorneys possess extensive experience in criminal and civil representation and are required to complete continuing legal education classes each year.
In addition, they attend local and national conferences to keep themselves current in the law and to sharpen their trial skills.