If you are facing criminal charges, you probably feel like things are whirling out of control. It is a natural reaction to feel that way, but there is one crucial thing you can control. You can contact an experienced lawyer to give you advice and guide you through this stressful legal process.
An experienced defense lawyer will advocate for you and work for the best possible outcome for your case. At an initial consultation with a lawyer, you will have the opportunity to meet your legal team, ask questions, and learn about the possible outcomes of your case.
The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner your case can get underway. Here are the steps to follow as you prepare for a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.
Don’t Post About Your Case on Social Media
Although we will be focusing on positive, proactive ways to get ready for your consultation, our first step is an important “don’t” rather than a “do.”
You can damage your case before it even begins by posting about it on your social media channels. Do not share details about your arrest, pending charges, or any aspect of your criminal case and avoid commenting, “liking, or “checking in” on any pages or apps.
Even if your social media settings are private, any of your friends or acquaintances can screenshot your information. Criminal investigators have become adept at searching social media and finding any information they think will bolster their case.
While you may think the danger is small, why take the risk of avoidable questioning or possibly negative consequences? While your case is proceeding, your safest bet is to take a complete break from social media.
Gather Documents That Relate to Your Case
In addition to your driver’s license or another form of legal identification, you will need to bring the following paperwork with you to your consultation.
- personal contact information
- written information about your personal and professional background
- documentation of any prior arrests or convictions
- police reports
- hospital reports (if applicable)
- misdemeanor or felony complaints
- any bail paperwork
- any restraining order information
- any property search papers
- details on your next court date
Also, bring with you any items that you think could be useful as evidence, including photos, texts, emails, voicemails, videos, or other documents. If you’re not sure if something will help, bring it anyway. The more information you can offer your attorney, the better prepared they are to defend your case.
Write Down the Events in Order
Create a chronological narrative – or story — of the events before, during, and after the incident in question. Include as many specific details as you can remember, including dates, times, street addresses, makes and models of cars, descriptions of rooms and people, and weapon types.
List all the people that were there when the crime occurred. Write down specific things people said and any unusual details you can remember.
Describe the nature and location of any injuries. When did the police arrive? How did the police approach you, and what did they say to you before, during, and after your arrest? Provide as many details as you can in this report. Your attorney will review this information and ask for any additional information that might help the investigation.
Make a List of Witnesses Who Can Corroborate Your Story
Who was there at the time of the incident? Make a list of their full names and contact information. Also include your relationship with that person – neighbor, co-worker, aunt, for example.
Also, provide your attorney with any information on anyone who might have damaging evidence against you.
Write Down Your Questions for the Attorney
This consultation is a two-way street. Your attorney is learning about you and your case, and you are learning about your attorney. Since you are bound to be a bit nervous during the interview, it’s a good idea to write down your questions ahead of time and bring them with you.
Here are some questions to ask during your consultation.
- Will you be the lawyer handling my case?
- How long have you been practicing criminal law?
- Have you handled cases like mine?
- What is your success rate in cases like mine?
- How often do your cases go to trial?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
- What penalties do I face for my charges?
- Is there a chance the charges could be dropped?
- What defense options or plea bargains do I have?
- How long will the legal process take?
- How will you communicate with me about my case?
- What are your rates?
- What about any added costs?
Feel free to add to this list if you have other concerns. Although, as we have said, it is normal to feel nervous during the conversation, you should feel that you can speak openly and that the attorney is listening to you and respectfully answering your questions.
Don’t Bring Friends or Family With You to the Consultation
We’ll bookend our list with another “don’t.” Although a friend or family member could want to be there to offer support, ask them to stay home for your consultation. Not only could they be a distraction during the interview, but their presence could make you less likely to share confidential information that your attorney needs to build your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
When you are facing criminal charges, timing is essential. The sooner you meet with a criminal defense attorney, the sooner your case can move forward. Also, the details of the incident are fresher in your mind and in the minds of witnesses now than they will be if you delay.
Keep in mind that you want to hire an attorney who has experience handling cases like yours. Many areas of criminal law – like federal crimes, domestic violence, and juvenile matters – are complicated. So, be sure ot search for an attorney who knows that area of law well and has handled other matters like yours successfully in the past.
At Suhre & Associates, we are committed to offering you the excellent legal representation you need for your criminal case. Contact us today to make an appointment for your free consultation.