When you plan to meet your criminal defense attorney for the first time, you need to have information about you and your case handy. If there are documents pertaining to your case that you have access to, those can be a great help in understanding your case. Your attorney needs to understand your case well, so that they can determine the best route for a defense.
Usually, those who are looking for a criminal defense attorney have already been accused of a crime or are currently being investigated. If that's your situation, then you may want to walk into a local attorney's office or make an appointment to get an attorney on your team.
What do you need to take with you when you meet your attorney?
There are a few standard things that you should bring, such as:
- Your identifying information
- Information about witnesses to whatever crime you're accused of
- Police records or the contact information of the police station that had you in custody
- The names of investigators or others who may be looking into you as a suspect
...and anything else that may pertain to your case. If you call ahead to make an appointment, your attorney can tell you exactly what they'd like to have in hand when you attend your consultation or first meeting.
Should you tell your attorney everything that happened leading up to an investigation or arrest?
You should try to recall as many details about your situation as possible and be honest with your attorney. Your attorney has the difficult job of defending you, but it can be much easier if they know exactly what happened to lead to the charges you face. They will have more information to support the defenses they may want to use and will better understand why you were or were not involved in an alleged criminal act.
Your attorney must keep your admissions, if any, private. There are few exceptions to that rule, so in most cases, anything you tell your attorney should be in confidence. This is all thanks to attorney-client privilege.
No matter what kind of crime you've committed or been accused of committing, it's important that you have a good defense. A defense can help you reduce the risk of unfair biases, penalties that don't match the crime and other treatment that shouldn't occur during an investigation or prosecution. Your attorney will protect you against biases, errors and other issues that could threaten your freedoms and impact your life in the long term.