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Preparing for An Initial Consult with A Criminal Defense Attorney

Preparing for an initial criminal defense attorney consult pictured two people meeting across table with gavel and scales of justice in foregroundFacing criminal charges is a serious matter and one you shouldn’t face alone. It is vital that you do not discuss any of the facts of your case with anyone other than your attorney. Remember you have the right to remain silent. It is in your best interest to remain silent.

Finding the right attorney to defend you against these charges is the first step in ensuring your rights are protected. But what if this is the first time you are confronted with this predicament? How should you prepare for your initial consultation with a criminal defense attorney?

The first step is to do your homework. Research criminal defense attorneys in your area, paying special attention to their credentials, years of experience, areas of practice, and reviews from past clients. Once you have found an attorney you believe can help your case, call for a consultation. Before you go, be prepared.

1.) Write down your questions and concerns. Some things you may want to ask:

  • How many similar cases has the attorney handled, and what were the outcomes?
  • Is he or she prepared to take your case to trial, if necessary?
  • How will the attorney communicate with you to keep you informed of your case’s progress? Can you call or email the attorney directly with questions and concerns?
  • What are the attorney’s fees and what other costs may be associated with your case? Does the attorney have any available payment plans?
  • Does the attorney believe you have a solid case and how does he or she plan to defend you?

2.) Record the order of events surrounding your case so that you are sure not to leave anything out in relaying your side to the attorney. Write on your notes “Confidential Attorney Client Privilege.”

3.) Bring any supporting documentation that you may have relating to your case. This includes police reports and court summonses.

4.) Compile a list of witnesses that can corroborate your account of the events surrounding your case.

5.) Avoid posting anything about your case on social media. Things posted online take on a life of their own and can be impossible to retract. Comments, especially those made in the heat of the moment, can be retrieved and possibly used against you.

The initial consultation is an opportunity for you to assess whether you believe the attorney is qualified to defend you, and it provides the attorney an opportunity to evaluate your case. Take some time to assess your reaction to him or her. What was your comfort level? Do you feel you had a rapport? If you’re in doubt, seek a second opinion. Finding an attorney you are comfortable with is an important step to defending your rights against criminal charges.

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