You may have noticed on my website and my blog that I offer a “complimentary initial consultation” for all new potential clients. To me, this is a critical first step in giving you an understanding of how a criminal case works, and for both of us to explore whether we think we can work together well.
In today’s blog post, I’ll give you a rundown of exactly what to expect in the complimentary consultation so you can be as prepared as possible.
Understand the Process
When my staff sets up the appointment, they’ll ask you several basic questions to get a general idea of what your case is about. In all consultations, I give people the “lay of the land,” which is a general overview of the legal process.
Some people walk into my office with their third DUI and a cool head; at this point, they pretty much know what will happen. On the other hand, first time offenders show up feeling jittery and fearful. They’ll ask questions like, “Is there a death penalty for this crime? Will I ever be able to drive again? Am I going to jail for years and years?”
So, while I don’t discuss the specifics of a case in the initial consultation, I will spend some time explaining how the process works. I’ll explain that you likely already have a Court date, but when an attorney enters the picture, the Court date will usually be changed.
When an attorney gets involved, you’ll have to provide a detailed summary of what happened, with an emphasis on your interaction with the police. Once I enter my appearance, I obtain copies of the police reports, the 9-1-1 call recording, and any body-cam footage available. At this point, I’ll have a much better perspective as to where we stand. Until then, I can’t really evaluate your case.
Then I can begin negotiations with the D.A. If we reach an agreeable disposition, fine. If not, I’ll play the lawyer game and file motions to exclude evidence if I find that any rights have been violated, and, if necessary, schedule a trial.
Years ago, a middle-aged woman came to me after she had been arrested for DUI. She was taken to the station when they offered her a breath test. To take the test, you have to wait 20 minutes, and while she waited, a female cop started “casually” chatting with her about the sushi restaurant my client had eaten at earlier that night. “Oh, I love their sake bombs! They’re so strong,” the cop said to my client. “Yeah, I guess so,” my client responded.
The cop got my client to admit she had been drinking at dinner. I filed a motion saying that she was in custody, she wasn’t advised of her rights, and she has being interrogated. The judge agreed with me and threw out all the questioning about the restaurant and the sake bombs.
I’ll also review basic things like attorney-client privilege, which ensures that the confidential communications between us are kept secret. I’ll lay out some expectations for our dynamic: I will treat you as an adult and be honest with you about your chances in the case, so you can make informed decisions.
Everyone eventually asks me, “If you were in my shoes, what would you do?” I can’t answer that question, but I can and will tell you whether you have a strong case or a snowball’s chance in hell.
Finally, I will conclude the session with a statement about myself. I am a firm believer that I can be a great attorney, but I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Four-letter words leave my mouth more often than some people would like, a couple days a week my dogs are in the office with us, and I only wear a suit and tie on Court days. I try to make sure that my clients know what they’re getting, so we minimize the chances that we can’t work together well.
Hiring a lawyer is a big deal. After our consultation, you may decide that I’m the best thing since sliced bread, or you may want to talk to another lawyer or two. However, if you’d like to get the process started, call my office at 303-449-1873 to set up a complimentary consultation.