How to Prepare for a Consultation with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in San Jose, CA
Whether the police arrested you or you are under investigation, you are probably highly concerned. Meeting a lawyer to discuss issues that might affect the rest of your life can seem overwhelming.
Your criminal defense lawyer might be one of the few people fully on your side. You and your lawyer will have a trusted and confidential relationship. Choosing the right lawyer could make the difference between winning and losing your case.
Read on to learn how to prepare for a consultation with a criminal defense attorney in San Jose.
The Role of Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Your criminal defense lawyer must develop a strategy to help you get the best possible outcome for your charges.
To do this, your criminal defense lawyer will look at the following:
- The prosecution’s evidence
- The charges against you
- Potential legal defenses
Your primary options for defending yourself include the following:
- Proving you were misidentified as the perpetrator
- Showing the prosecution cannot prove its case
- Disproving the evidence against you, including challenging the credibility of witnesses
- Establishing legal defenses that justify your actions
To do this, your criminal defense lawyer needs several skills, including knowledge of the law, experience with cases similar to your case, and a full understanding of the facts of your case.
Steps for Preparing for a Consultation with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
You should speak to as many lawyers as possible. Different lawyers have different experiences and perspectives. The right lawyer for your case might not have the biggest name or the most billboards. You need a lawyer who has the skill set that will give you the best chance of winning or settling your charges.
Your consultation will give you a chance to evaluate your case and determine which lawyer you trust with your case. It will also give you and your lawyer a chance to start thinking about your defense.
Some ways you can prepare for your consultation with a criminal defense lawyer include:
Prepare for a Blunt Discussion
A lawyer can only help you if you give them the full story. This means you must have an open and honest discussion with your lawyer. You must tell the lawyer everything, including facts that:
- Harm your case
- Might embarrass you
- Could implicate other people
For example, if you were accused of a homicide, you should discuss all the details of what happened, even if they cast you in a bad light. A lawyer might find something in the facts of your case that might help you. Even if the facts do not necessarily help you, a full and open discussion will help your lawyer avoid any surprises from the prosecution.
With all the facts, your lawyer can evaluate your situation and give you equally blunt advice. Be prepared to hear that you might need to plead guilty to get the best deal. Ready yourself to hear that you might spend some time in jail or prison.
Your lawyer owes you a duty of confidentiality. This means the lawyer cannot disclose anything you discuss unless you threaten someone else’s life or safety.
Gather Documents from Law Enforcement
If you were arrested, you probably received some paperwork from the jail when you made bail. This paperwork probably describes the charges for which you were arrested. It also tells you the next court date in your case.
Read through this paperwork and take it with you to meet with the lawyer. The lawyer can use this information to begin planning your case.
Understand Your Charges
Do some research to understand your charges. Make sure you understand the crime the police accused you of committing. And try to figure out the elements prosecutors must prove to convict you of your charges.
Sometimes this step is more difficult than you might think. For example, many different crimes can make up a domestic violence charge. In California, domestic violence can include assault, making threats, or destruction of property.
If you know what the prosecution needs to prove, you can help your lawyer develop a defense. You could help show the alleged victim made a false accusation or that the prosecution has missed proving one of the essential elements.
Make a List of Questions
Think of questions you need to be answered. Some questions to ask a lawyer during a consultation include:
- How much do you charge?
- How will I receive updates about my case?
- Will you handle my case personally?
- Do you have experience with these types of charges?
- What defenses apply to my case?
- What outcomes can I expect?
- What can I do to help?
You might think of more questions that apply to your case. You should also ask how your lawyer plans to build your defense,
Your lawyer needs your cooperation to mount your defense. Ask all the questions you have because you and your lawyer need to be on the same page to get the best possible outcome.
Think About Outcomes You Can Accept
Your lawyer will not predict what will happen in your case. But the lawyer can probably guess the range of outcomes you might see.
At the same time, you should start thinking about the outcomes you would find acceptable. Your lawyer needs to know what you can live with. This will help determine whether a plea deal is possible.
For example, suppose your charges include sex crimes, and you need to avoid getting put on the sex offender registry due to your job. Explain your situation to the lawyers you consult. They can see if you can plead guilty to other charges that will help you avoid the registry.
Working with Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
Once you pick a lawyer, stay involved in your case. Your lawyer will need your involvement during plea negotiations and trial preparation.To consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in San Jose, CA, contact de legal team Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, for a free consultation at (408) 217-8818. We’re standing by to help.