Questions to Ask Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Being arrested and charged with a crime can be an unfamiliar and frightening experience. If you or someone you love has recently been arrested, remember that just because charges have been filed, does not mean you are guilty – you have the right to fight the government’s case against you, and to have experienced criminal defense attorneys on your side when doing so. At The Criminal Defense Team, our legal team – which includes three Board Certified Criminal Law Experts – always encourages clients who come to our firm during their times of need to ask questions and voice their concerns. This is because we prioritize close-working relationships, and want to ensure our clients understand their rights, options, and the work we are doing to fight on their behalves. Because we know the criminal justice system can be a confusing and intimidating atmosphere, we want to help anyone facing allegations ask the right questions when working with a defense attorney.
- What are the potential penalties? – Understanding what’s at stake in your case can help you take the appropriate steps in prioritizing what you need to do, such as heeding the advice of your lawyer, taking certain actions they suggest, and providing them with the information they need. If you case involves aggravating circumstances, such as prior convictions, their insight can also help you understand if you face elevated penalties based on the unique facts of your case.
- What should you be doing? – Depending on the nature of your case, there may be a number of things you can do to help yourself and your attorneys. These include, taking classes or getting treatment and counseling, gathering any evidence and documentation you can and providing it to your lawyer, providing accounts of what occurred during your arrest in as much detail as possible, recovering any needed records, and more.
- What are your options? – Because every case is unique, your available options for defense and pursuing the most positive outcome possible are influenced directly by the individual facts of your case. For example, your options for resolution may involve challenging law enforcement’s conduct during your arrest (such as an unlawful search and seizure), seeking diversion, exploring a plea bargain, or taking your case to trial.
- What additional expenses are involved? – Aside from discussing fees when retaining a lawyer, you have the right to discuss the costs of any additional work that needs to be done in your case. This may include working with third parties, such as experts, who can provide evidence or testimony at trial to support your side of the story.
- Are there alternative sentencing options? – Depending on the charges you face, as well as the jurisdiction where your case is being handled, there may be options for alternative sentencing that keep you out of jail. These may include options such as home confinement, diversion programs that entail drug or alcohol treatment, work-release or work-furlough programs, and more.