The following is from Daniel Blue, an investigator for the Law Offices of Feldman and Lee. This is not legal advice. You should always speak with an attorney about legal matters.
This may be the first time you have been charged with a crime, or maybe you have been through this process before. This article is to help you make the most of the time you spend with your attorney when you meet for the first time. The goal is to make your first meeting, meaningful for you, informative to your attorney, speed up the process of fighting your charges, help your attorney investigate, and prepare a defense for you.
Tip #1. Bring everything you think is important
This is probably the easiest step and the most important. If you have documents that you think are important, bring them. Let the attorney explain to you if they are relevant or not. It is better to have the documents or evidence with you, and have the attorney tell you later it doesn’t matter than to speculate. This will give you peace of mind that you discussed everything with your attorney. Here is a list of information you should consider brining with you:
- Names of witnesses and their contact information
- Written account of your recollection of events
- Court paperwork and police paperwork you were given
- Release of information for agencies and doctors you have been working with
It is likely that your attorney will need to investigate more about your case. Brining all of the documentation and information that you have will save the attorney time.
Tip #2. Be prepared to meet with your attorney alone
Yes, your friends and family are important supports in your life. They can serve to remind you of details, and help you keep track of what is going to happen. However, be prepared to meet with your attorney alone. If just for the first meeting. That is because everything you say between you and your attorney is confidential and protected. If your friends or family are there they could become a witness against you.
If you feel that you might forget something, or you need moral support. Discuss them with your supports before and write them down. You can take this paper with you into your first meeting.
If you are still hesitant or need that moral support. You can also have them wait in the waiting room until after you and your attorney have talked confidentially. After that your friends or family can be there to follow up and support you.
Tip #3. Think about what your goals are.
Having your goals well defined before you meet with your attorney can be helpful. Granted everyone wants to have their case dismissed. However, you should consider what is most important to you. Some questions you can ask yourself:
- Is your time more important to you than having to appear at court many times?
- Are you only willing to accept a dismissal or you open to other resolutions/outcomes?
Your attorney will be able to advise you on what you can expect, and help you reach your goals. Your attorney and you can also help problem solve the best way to reach your goals.
Being charged with a crime is a stressful life event for anyone. Meeting with your attorney is an essential step for any criminal defense so much that it is your constitutional right. If you take time to think about these three easy tips you can reduce the stress of your first meeting, and have a much better experience.