It is crucial to talk with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested. It is also wise to talk with a criminal lawyer if you believe you are being investigated for a crime or are a person of interest in a crime.

Being arrested for a crime does not mean you committed the crime. However, it does mean that the police officers and the prosecutor are convinced you are guilty. Therefore, talking to the police or the prosecutor won’t do you any good. You need to talk with someone who has your best interest in mind and understands criminal defense laws.

Preparing for Your Consultation with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you schedule an appointment with the criminal defense attorney, begin preparing for your appointment. 

Steps that you can take to help your lawyer prepare a strong defense for you include:

Be Prepared to Answer Tough Questions

Your lawyer needs to know everything about you. The last place an attorney wants to learn about an important piece of evidence is sitting in a courtroom or across from a prosecutor.

Be prepared to talk about your past and your criminal history, in addition to the crime you face. Generally, the more honest and open you are with your attorney, the better defense they can develop for your case.

Write a Summary of the Incident

As soon as you can, write down everything you remember about the incident while the facts are still fresh in your mind. Write down all details, regardless of how small they are. The smallest detail could lead to the charges being dropped or an acquittal of charges. Make sure to include a timeline of events.

Prepare a List of Potential Witnesses 

You might be surprised to discover some people are willing to testify on your behalf. There may also be friends and family members who have information about the case.

Make a list of all potential witnesses, including notes about what each person might say if asked about you and the charges against you. You may also want to include a list of people who you believe might testify against you.

If possible, you may also want to draft a list of people who could support an alibi. Remember, do not lie to your attorney. Only include the names of people who can honestly state that you were with them instead of the crime scene. 

Gather Evidence and Documents

Put together a packet of the important documents that relate to your case. Include any documents that the police officers gave you before and after your arrest. Also, include all documentation that directly relates to the alleged crime, such as affidavits, indictments, restraining orders, bail documents, emails, and other forms of written communication. 

Write Down Questions for Your Lawyer

It might be challenging to remember the questions you want to ask an attorney during a consultation. Writing down the questions means you do not forget anything you wanted to ask the lawyer. It helps keep the meeting moving along and gives you a place to write down notes and responses to your questions.

Questions to ask an attorney during the initial consultation include:

  • How many years have you practiced criminal law?
  • Do you think I will need to appear in court?
  • What are the chances you might be able to work out an acceptable plea agreement?
  • What is your hourly rate? What is your retainer fee, and do you have a payment plan?
  • How long do you think my criminal case might take to resolve?
  • How many cases do you settle versus take to court?
  • What are some potential outcomes of my case?
  • Do you see any issues or problems with my case?
  • What are the potential defenses that could be used to keep me out of jail?

Do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to establish a good attorney-client relationship. There may be additional questions you need to ask based on the facts of your case. 

Other Things You Can Do to Help Your Criminal Case

As you prepare for your consultation with your criminal defense attorney, also keep these things in mind:

  • Do not discuss your case with anyone, even family and friends
  • Avoid using social media and block anyone from posting anything about you online
  • Do not attempt to contact the victim or anyone involved in the case, including co-defendants

Your criminal defense lawyer may give you additional instructions about what to do and what not to do while waiting for the criminal charges against you to be resolved.