With more than 60,000 criminal cases in the country, the demand for criminal defense lawyers is still at its peak. Finding expert legal help when charged with a crime can help ease the frightening experience, especially if it’s your first time.
Prior to meeting a criminal defense attorney, you need to get certain facts straight for the meeting to be a success. The consultation will help both of you decide whether you’ll work together in the case. At this point, you will be assessing the lawyer’s experience and gathering advice as a defendant.
However informal the meeting may seem, it’s crucial to prepare in advance to make the most of your time and money. You wouldn’t want to delay the case and lose money in the process of meeting potential lawyers in Orlando. Stick to these 7 tips as you plan your initial consultation.
1. Ask the Lawyer What to Bring
After narrowing your options for a criminal defense lawyer to one candidate, call them to schedule an initial meeting. Ask them about the items they expect you to carry for the case. Note everything the legal expert tells you when you reach out to them.
Expect your potential attorney to have their detailed contact information published on their website. You can also find these details on online lawyer directories if the lawyer is registered on one.
2. Do Not Discuss Your Case With Anyone
Your attorney for criminal defense will expect you not to disclose the details of the case to anyone besides them. If you share the charges with anyone, they may be forced to appear in court as a potential witness. On the downside, those who hear about your case may testify against you when compelled by prosecutors to do so.
Avoid sending close friends or family members intimate details about your criminal charge via email, text messages, or even phone calls. With a search warrant, prosecutors may ask for your phone and look for any criminalizing information that they can use against you to limit your rights. They can even send a subpoena to the messaging app or cell phone company to access your personal messages.
Your criminal defense attorney is the only person you can share the confidential details of your case with. Resist the urge to talk to close friends and family about the case when stressed. Instead, find a way to cope with the stress until the situation is handled.
3. Write Down Clear Memories of the Event
Your recollection of the incident can act as evidence when your criminal case goes to trial. You should, therefore, arrange and write down your memories of what happened. Try remembering the events that led to your criminal charges without leaving out any piece of information that may be helpful.
You can write the first draft in a scattered format then edit it later. When editing, organize the details in a way that your attorney can follow. Arrange the events in chronological order and mention important bits like dates and times.
4. Put Relevant Documents in Order
The criminal defense law firm will want you to bring copies of relevant documents to the initial meeting. Once they find time, they will go through each document to prepare legal defenses for your case.
Put critical documents in a binder to avoid losing them before the consultation date. Arrange them in their order of relevance for easier retrieval.
Examples of documents needed in the meeting include court or police reports stating your criminal charges and court appearance. Others include police property search reports, bail documents, and supporting videos/photos (if there are any).
5. Be Prepared to Share Your Background
Your personal or business background information will help the lawyer prepare defenses in line with your situation. Without having a profile of you or your business, it’s quite difficult for them to present your best interests to the prosecutor. It will also be challenging for them to prove your involvement in the crime if you fail to share this information.
Expect the attorney to ask you a few personal questions about your life and day-to-day activities. Prepare yourself for these kinds of questions and be open to sharing your life history with a stranger. Thanks to the attorney-client privilege, anything you share with the lawyer will remain confidential.
Your lawyer will want to know whether you have a criminal record or an arrest record. They will also ask you about your upbringing and career.
6. Prepare a Set of Questions for the Lawyer
Since it may be overwhelming to remember everything you want to ask a lawyer, write the questions down. Your questions will help keep the consultation going and give you peace of mind on the lawyer’s expertise.
You may inquire about their experience practicing criminal law and whether they think you’ll need to go to court. Your questions may also revolve around plea agreements, their legal fees, and payment plans, and the length it takes to resolve the case.
Keep your questions short and straightforward to get the right answers for your case. Write down as many questions as you like since they’ll help both of you establish a long-lasting attorney-client bond.
7. Identify Any Witnesses for the Case
As you prepare for the legal consultation, identify witnesses the lawyer can call to testify in court. They should include people who heard or saw the crime taking place or might have crucial information about you or the crime.
Examples of witnesses include lay witnesses, expert witnesses, and character witnesses. A lay witness is one who watched the crime events, while an expert witness is one specialized in a certain area related to the offense. You may have a character witness who knows you or other people involved in the crime.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
It doesn’t take much time to prepare for a legal consultation when facing criminal charges. Your level of preparation will determine the speed at which your criminal defense attorney will help you. Be open to sharing any bits of information that are useful to your case.
Count on Longwell Elite Criminal Defense Lawyers for legal representation when charged with a crime. Our lawyers have been helping residents of Orlando resolve family law and criminal defense cases with a client-centered approach. Schedule a case evaluation from us today.