This is the first time in your life that you have ever faced criminal charges. You have never had to hire a lawyer before. You are not sure where to start. Here is a list of tips to get started with your new criminal defense lawyer.
Remember Details of What Happened
As soon as you can after being arrested or Summonsed, it is a good idea to take a few minutes to write down the story of what happened. You might think you will remember it clearly if you wait several weeks to contact a lawyer, but people*s memories tend to get fuzzy over time. The better your memory of the details, the more helpful your lawyer can be.
Meet with You Lawyer as Soon as Possible
It is important to meet with your lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested or Summonsed. The more time your lawyer has before your court date, the more opportunities your lawyer has to defend your case. There could even be time-sensitive requests for evidence that, if they are not made on time, can be lost. The sooner your lawyer can start working for you, the better.
Come With Questions
Meeting with your lawyer for the first time, it can be helpful for both you and the lawyer for you to have some questions you want answers to. Generally, these tend to be about how the case will impact you personally, such as how it will affect your job and your family. Should you expect to face jail time? Will you become a felon if convicted? Will you lose your driver*s license? Will your job or professional license be put at risk? These are all good questions to bring to your lawyer.
Ask for Clarification of Terms You Do Not Understand
As legal professionals, lawyers know that we use a lot of legal-specific terms. Some call this *legalese.* Some words mean one thing outside the law, but mean an entirely different thing inside the legal system. Your lawyer should be happy to clarify any special legal terms to you so that you understand clearly.
Come With an Open Mind
In addition to asking good questions, remembering details, and meeting promptly with your lawyer, it is also as valuable to be a good listener. Your lawyer might have specific advice that you need to follow, and you need to be open to hearing that advice. You are coming to see the lawyer so that you can receive good legal advice. Allow your lawyer to do their job for you.
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