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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102601
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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my daughter has retained an attorney for a simple assault case.

Customer Question

my daughter has retained an attorney for a simple assault case. she pleaded guilty and now the case is set for trail. the only evidence that has been presented is a police report. the same girl that my daughter had a fight with is walking around the neighborhood and has since started other fights. we really don't know what to do. the attorney has only contacted her once during the entire case and is hard to reach over the phone. she has followed the case online thorough county record and gotten the latest update on the case. our dilemma is, my daughter is military and stationed to leave the state in the next month. she has paid off her bond but we really don't know what to do. please help
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.
Hello friend. My name is Ely, and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your daughter's situation. You state "we do not know what to do." Okay, but in regards to what, exactly:

1) What to expect at trial, i.e. how it works?
2) That she is ordered to leave next month, and the trial may still be pending? Also, is the military aware of her pending case?
3) Or, something else?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

#1 what to expect at trial without strong evidence.


my daughter is the wife of a military enlisted person. the attorney advised her that she would be able to leave because he would be representation for us in the case, and #2: how do we follow a case where she has never attended any court dates and unsuccessful in reaching attorney

Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.

#1 what to expect at trial without strong evidence.

Much of what you hear about a criminal trial is very much "dramatized." It is actually much duller than it sounds. The following occurs:

1) The Prosecutor will make a quick opening argument;
2) Her defense attorney will.
3) The Prosecutor will call witnesses to the stand. This may be the alleged victim and/or the officers who arrived on the scene.
4) The defense attorney may cross-examine them.
5) Then the defense attorney may call witnesses. She may or may not testify - she does not have to unless she wants to do so.
6) Then, the Judge or Jury will decide.

By default, the trial is almost always a BENCH (judge) trial unless the defendant requests a jury. A jury is favorable to a defendant for two reasons:

1) The jury tend to be more subjective and often "roll over the law" and vote with their hearts; and
2) A jury must be unanimous in guilty verdict. This is very hard to get, wherein with a Judge, it is only one person that the prosecutor has to convince.

For these reasons, she may ask her defense attorney to set the matter for a jury trial if this has not been done already.

The onus is on the prosecutor to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. With weak evidence, they may not be able to do so... especially if they have to convince multiple jurors.

my daughter is the wife of a military enlisted person. the attorney advised her that she would be able to leave because he would be representation for us in the case

There may have been a miscommunication here. She may travel, but, (1) she would need the court's permission first if she is on bail and (2) she would need to come back for the trial date. I am afraid there is no way around this.

how do we follow a case where she has never attended any court dates and unsuccessful in reaching attorney

She may wish to write the attorney a LETTER, sent certified, that states that she is very anxious about the status and their non-communication is very troubling. Example:

Dear __________,

This correspondence is a formal notice to you that I am becoming very anxious and troubled with your lack of correspondence in regards to my case. Florida's ethical rules for attorneys state that an attorney is supposed to communicate with their client. Rule 1.4:200.

"An attorney's consideration of his or her client's interests and communication with the client at reasonable times in response to the client's inquiries are a vital and necessary part of the attorney-client relationship. We expect and require this of members of The Florida Bar and will not hesitate to imposes discipline upon Florida attorneys who do not fulfill these obligations to their clients." Florida Bar v. Roberts, 770 So. 2d 1207, 1209 (Fla. 2000). Indeed, the court has not hesitated to impose discipline for violations of FL Rule 4-1.4. See, e.g., Florida Bar v. Brakefield, 679 So. 2d 766 (Fla. 1996); Florida Bar v. Morrison, 669 So. 2d 1040 (Fla. 1996); Florida Bar v. Winderman, 614 So. 2d 484 (Fla. 1993).

Please CALL me at ___ or write to me at ___ or at the very least return my calls in regards to this matter. Also, please note that I am formally giving you the right to discuss the matter with my family, namely, ____ and ___.




This does two things - it may scare the attorney into thinking that this is a preparation to file a grievance and they should return the calls, and/or, it lays down a foundation for a possibility of an appeal based on ineffective counsel if she is found guilty.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

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