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What to Expect at Your Initial Consultation with a Criminal Defense Attorney

initial consultation

If you are under investigation or were recently charged with a crime, you probably know that you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer. But what should you expect during your initial consultation?

You and your lawyer both want your first meeting to be productive. There are a number of things you should know about your initial consultation with a criminal defense attorney, and things you can do to prepare so the meeting is as productive as possible.

Schedule Your Initial Consultation

The first step, of course, is choosing the best Michigan criminal defense attorney for your case, and scheduling the initial consultation. By reaching out to a Michigan criminal defense lawyer, you have already done more to protect your rights than many other defendants.

When you contact Elmen Legal, you will schedule a time that is convenient for you to meet with Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Robert Elmen to discuss your case. Elmen Legal offers a free consultation with a criminal lawyer to discuss your case and decide whether Elmen Legal is the right attorney for you.

Gather Information About Your Case

When you were arrested and charged with a crime, you may have received paperwork from the police or the court about your case. You may have also received a ticket, a summons to appear in court, or a bail receipt. Depending on the type of crime you were charged with, there may be other papers associated with your case, or other evidence you believe may help prove that you are not guilty of the crime you were charged with committing.

No matter what the papers are, if you think they are important to your case, bring them with you. During your initial consultation, your lawyer will review the paperwork with you, explain what it means, and help you decide whether it is relevant to your defense.

If you received any paperwork with a court date on it, it is especially important that you bring those papers with you. Your criminal defense lawyer will rely on you to know when your first court appearance is. Until you formally hire a lawyer, a lawyer cannot easily obtain information about a case directly from the court, so it is best that you bring information about your first court appearance with you to your appointment.

Write Down Your Side of the Story

To prepare for your first meeting with your criminal defense lawyer, write down your side of the events that led to the criminal charge. By taking time to write down what happened, you will have a clearer memory of the events leading up to and immediately following the incident. You may also find that you remember important details about your case that you would have otherwise forgotten.

When you write down your recollection of the events leading up to your arrest, write your thoughts in the form of a letter to your lawyer. By writing your thoughts as a letter to your lawyer the document becomes a privileged attorney-client communication that cannot be discovered by law enforcement or the prosecution.

Having a written record of what happened will also help your criminal defense lawyer prepare the best defense. You will be asked to go over all of these details during your initial meeting with your lawyer, but having a written record of what happened can minimize the possibility that a detail may be overlooked, forgotten, or somehow lost in translation.

Your Free Consultation with a Criminal Attorney

Elmen Legal offers a free initial consultation. While some people are intimidated by the possibility of meeting with a lawyer, remember that I am on your side and will do everything I can to put you at ease. I will let you set the pace of the meeting, and will listen carefully so I fully understand what happened.

I will also answer your questions about the process of a criminal case. This includes next steps in your case, potential consequences of a conviction, your options, and how I can help. In fact, I recommend writing down any questions you have before the meeting so we can be sure to answer them during our time together.

Regardless of the criminal defense attorney you meet with, you should expect your lawyer to be upfront and honest with you. Your lawyer should be able to clearly explain the charges against you and their proposed defense strategy. They should also give you accurate information about your case so you can make an informed decision. However, no criminal defense lawyer can promise a particular outcome. You should make the decision to hire a criminal defense attorney based on whether you think the lawyer is proficient, a good fit for you, and will listen attentively and communicate effectively.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

At the end of the initial consultation meeting, you will be asked whether you want to hire Elmen Legal to represent you in your criminal case. I will describe what I will be able to do for you, explain the legal retainer agreement, and tell you how much it will cost to represent you.

I will be upfront about my fees. Your initial consultation with me is free because you have not yet decided whether you want to hire Elmen Legal. If you decide to hire Elmen Legal, you will need to set up payment terms. You should walk away from your initial meeting understanding how much your legal fees will be, as well as any additional expenses that are anticipated, such as fees for investigation services or to hire an expert.

If you are not comfortable hiring Elmen Legal, or need time to think about your decision or to gather funds, I completely understand. You need to be comfortable with whoever you hire to represent you.

Elmen Legal: Criminal Defense in Southern Michigan

If you have been charged with a crime in Ann Arbor or anywhere in southern Michigan, Elmen Legal is here to help.

Learn more about the cases I handle, read testimonials from other people I’ve helped, and contact me today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case and how I can help.

Robert Elmen's Profile Image
Admitted to practice law in 2014, Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Robert Elmen defends people accused of crimes such as assault and battery, domestic violence, sex crimes, drug crimes, and drunk driving / OWI / DUI. His caring approach towards his clients sets him apart from other lawyers as he recognizes that people come to him during their darkest hours, looking for help, and for hope. Robert is a student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and draws on his martial arts training to help himself and his clients remain calm in the face of what may seem like insurmountable odds.

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