After being arrested, the next logical step is to speak with a defense attorney. Someone who hasn’t been arrested before, however, may not know what to expect at the first meeting or how to prepare for it. It is important to take this seriously and be as prepared as possible before going to meet with the lawyer for the first time. Use the following tips to make sure the consultation will go as smoothly as possible.
Be Prepared to Ask Questions
Anyone who is going to need a defense attorney after being arrested will have a lot of questions. When it comes to the first meeting, however, it’s easy to forget all of the questions. In the days leading up to the consultation, write down questions in a notebook or on a piece of paper and take this to the consultation. By writing the questions down, it’s easier for the arrested person to make sure they ask all of the questions they have and get the answers they need.
Organize Any Documents
Bring copies of police reports and any other documents to the consultation. The lawyer will want to briefly review the information to get a better idea of the case. Use a single folder with individual documents stapled or paper clipped to keep everything organized and ready for the lawyer to review. Being organized helps cut down on the amount of time needed to go through the documents, leaving more time for discussion.
Be Prepared to be Honest
It’s easy to be nervous about telling someone what actually happened, especially if honesty means admitting guilt. However, conversations between a lawyer and their client are confidential, so the lawyer isn’t going to talk about the case with others. Being honest at these meetings allows the lawyer to better understand the case and any potential challenges in defending against the charges.
Be Prepared to Take Notes
Most people attend the consultation, listen carefully to what the lawyer is saying, then go home and have trouble remembering everything. This is not unusual, but it could be problematic. The lawyer will likely provide advice for handling the situation as well as different options to consider before moving forward. Instead of risking forgetting anything, bring a notebook and pen to the consultation. Take notes carefully while the lawyer is talking and ask for clarification if needed.
Ask About Payment Policies
Hiring a defense lawyer does cost money, though it is well spent when the potential repercussions are minimized or the client is able to avoid being found guilty. Different lawyers may have different payment policies in place, so it’s a good idea to ask about them. Generally, the lawyer will require a retainer, which is a set amount paid upfront to secure their services. They’ll bill their hourly rate against the retainer, then ask for the funds to be replenished as needed.
If you’ve been arrested, the time to talk to a lawyer is now. Use the tips here to make sure you’re prepared for the consultation and won’t end up missing anything. By being prepared, you can make sure there is more time for discussions as well as ensure you get as much possible out of the meeting. Since consultations may not be free, being prepared helps you use the time wisely.