My criminal attorney is late to court. Is that a sign of a problem

The short answer is, “probably not.” Generally, courts that hear criminal cases schedule hearings for 8:30 am and 1:30 pm. The problem is that different courts do not coordinate their schedules and an attorney can be scheduled to appear in 2 or 3 or more courts at the same time. Because this situation is so common, courts are very familiar with schedule conflicts and the overwhelming majority are accommodating. Experienced criminal defense lawyers know the policies and practices of the various criminal courts and will take preemptive measures to make sure the courts are aware of the conflict and consent with any delay. Less accommodating courts will usually require a more timely arrival and an experienced attorney will know which courts deserve special attention.  It is also possible that a late arrival may be scheduled purposely as a matter of schedule so that the lawyer has an opportunity to have the undivided attention of the judge or prosecutor.  


If you look at the issue from a different perspective, you may realize that having attorney with a busy schedule is a good sign. Assuming the lawyer is a retained Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney, a busy schedule usually reflects a lawyer in demand. If a paid lawyer has too much free time, that may be a sign he or she is unsuccessful and, hence, not in demand. A court appointed attorney is a different story. Court appointed attorneys are frequently over burdened with cases and have no choice but to take on an overwhelming, huge caseload in order to make a decent living.  


The best thing you can do in this circumstance is talk to your attorney and get an explanation as to the reason for the delay. Ask whether the court was notified and if there is any complication that is possible due to the delay. Assuming the lawyer made the appropriate calls and the made the proper arrangements, there should not be any reason for alarm. The key is good communication. 


Mr. Loren M. Dickstein, Esq.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney


2000 Town Center, Ste. 2350

Southfield, MI.  48075