Many people have emailed me asking what they should do to prepare to meet with their attorney. I will try over the next few weeks to give some advice on this. I have chosen to start with “What to do before meeting with a Criminal Defense Lawyer.”As always I recommend that you research the attorney online before making an appointment. Lets face it seeing a criminal defense lawyer is never easy. In fact it can be a bit embarrassing. So with that said, I want to try and help you feel very comfortable before you go in and see a stranger and tell them all about this “crime” you are being charged with.Okay here we go, like I said facing a criminal charge is usually a very scary thing for anyone being accused of a crime. This alone would make it vitally important to be represented by a quality criminal defense lawyer. If you are not prepared before you go and see your potential new lawyer it usually turns out to be a waste of your time and the lawyers, not to mention you had to sit through the embarrassment or discomfort of spilling your guts.The first thing that your lawyer will want to understand is what you are seeking them for, and what your side of the story is. Criminal actions frequently involve very different events from your story and the polices story. Because of this I recommend that you write down anything that you consider be relevant information and have it available for the lawyer.Ask the firm when you call to make an appointment if they have any questionnaire that you could fill out beforehand to bring to the attorney when you meet. This usually will help you make sure that you have all of the relevant things that your attorney will need to evaluate your case. They will also want to see any of the following documents if you have them.
Any documents you received from the court showing your charges and next court appearance date
Your bail papers
Any paperwork the police left with you
If you can get a copy of the police report
You have to feel comfortable with your attorney. You want someone who is skilled at criminal defense and you also have to get along with your lawyer. Once again that is why I highly recommend you learn about your potential lawyer before just going in to see them. Read their website; see what separates this attorney from the others that you can choose from. The days of just picking up the yellow pages and calling the “local lawyer” are over. Just because someone has a big ad in the yellow pages does NOT make them a good lawyer.Prepare a list of questions to take with you to your first meeting. I know that for some superstitious people the number 13 is unlucky. So if that is your case then combine one of the questions below. But for those of us that are not here is a list of 13 vital questions to ask your potential attorney:
What are your options?
Has the attorney handled a case like yours before? And if so how many?
What problems does the lawyer foresee with your case?
What is their strategy?
What is the process?
How long will it take to bring the matter to a conclusion?
Does the attorney practice other areas of law other than criminal defense?
Very important question in my opinion is, “How often do you advise your clients to plea bargain?”
How often do you go to trial?
What are your fees?
Do they take credit cards?
Do you accept payment plans?
Will the lawyer you are meeting with be handling your case personally or would it be passed on to some other lawyer in the firm?
Well I hope that helps. As always there are more questions that you could ask and my biggest recommendation is research the attorney first and do NOT hire anyone that you do not feel comfortable with.