Being accused of a crime is one of the most stressful things that can happen to you. Even a misdemeanor or minor offense, which doesn't leave you in jail, can be scary. If you are like most people, your first step is to meet with a criminal defense attorney. By preparing properly for the first meeting with your new attorney, you can ensure that your case gets off to the right start. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Bring Your Documents
Although your attorney can track down most of the paperwork, you can save them time by bringing everything that you can with you. Make photocopies of all official paperwork. This includes arrest records, accident reports, traffic tickets, or any other official document that has been issued to you as a result of the accused crime. It's a good idea to create two files – one for the originals, which you keep, and one with copies for your attorney.
Tip #2: Track Down Contact Details
Witnesses can be the key to proving your innocence, or at least lowering the charge. Bring as much information as possible for each witness. This includes both those that were with you at the time of the offense and anyone else, such as passersby or local shop workers, that may have seen the situation. Full details, like name, address, and phone number, are preferred, but even details like a license plate number or the physical description of the person working at the corner gas station that witnessed the incident can give your lawyer enough information to track them down.
Tip #3: Write It Down
This is something you should do as soon after the incident as possible. At the very least, make sure you write down everything you can remember before meeting with your attorney. Include events leading up to the incident, everything you can remember pertaining to the incident, and anything that happened afterward that pertains to the incident. The passing of time can make you lose some of the important details, so it's important to get them down while the memory is still fresh.
Tip #4: Prepare Yourself
Finally, prepare yourself for the meeting. Your attorney may ask some difficult questions, and it is vital that you are completely honest. It can be easy to feel like you are under attack, but your attorney just wants to make sure they have as much knowledge of the incident as possible. Even if you are guilty of a minor crime, you lawyer will want to collect as many details as possible so they can try to lower the charges or have them removed entirely. Starting out with honesty is the key to making this happen.
For more information, contact an attorney like Cross, LaCross, & Murphy PLLC.