WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT WHEN TALKING TO A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER FOR THE FIRST TIME ABOUT YOUR CASE?
You have been charged with a crime and you are going into a criminal defense lawyer’s office. What should you expect when you walk in the door? Well, things you should expect is that you are going to get your questions answered. The person is going to listen you, that the person is going to anticipate some questions that you don’t know to ask. I’ll give you an example. Someone comes in on a case I am generally going to go over a couple of different things. I am going to inquire about their criminal history so I know about their experiences in the criminal justice system. Is this their first rodeo or have they been here a lot of times before? After I obtain that knowledge, I am going to walk them through the things that I think they need to know. We will generally talk about the courts so they know how the courts work in Kansas, where they are at, what court they are in. We will generally talk about the laws in Kansas so they know how much trouble they are in. Basically where they fall on the spectrum of seriousness of a crime. We will talk about the specific charges in which they are charged with. What are the ins and outs of those charges? What are some common things that come up with those charges that people have questions about. I will talk about any collateral consequences. Which is basically anything that might not be specifically related to the case but might have a dramatic impact on them. Maybe if they are professionally licensed, they are a doctor, lawyer, insurance agent, something that they have to be licensed in the state. I might talk to them about how this criminal charge may impact their ability to keep doing that or how it might put them under an obligation to report the crime to some sort of governing body. After we talk about the courts, and the law, and the charges, I will generally ask them about what happened. This is going to be the most crucial part of the time that you speak with a lawyer. You want to make sure that the lawyer has every bit of information possible that is relevant to that particular set of facts that got you in trouble. Your lawyer is going to base essentially their decision and plan of attack on the case on what you tell them right then and there. They are also going to be able to give you or highlights some problems that are going to come up in your case, things that you need to be looking out for. Once you have talked about the courts, the law, the specific case in which you are charged and the facts which surround your case, you also want to have the lawyer talk to you about yourself. How you are taking care of yourself, how you are dealing with this problem, how does this impact your family or how it is causing you particularly problems. You want your lawyer to care about your case but you also want your lawyer to care about you and how they are going to position you in the best situation so that you get a good result on your case and that you get this whole mess behind you.