If you’ve been charged with a crime, you are under considerable stress and may not have any idea how to proceed. The best way forward, however, is to begin at the very beginning and find yourself an experienced criminal lawyer as quickly as possible. The right criminal lawyer will not only begin managing your case immediately but will also help you focus on what’s most important. If you’re facing criminal charges, you need an experienced Toronto criminal lawyer on your side. Once you’ve scheduled a consultation, there is some basic prep work you can do to maximize the productivity of your meeting.
Gather All Pertinent Documents
If you have been charged with a crime, there are legal documents and paperwork involved. The kinds of documents you have will depend upon where you are in your case. If you’ve already had your initial hearing, you should have a copy of the charges you are facing. Regardless of where you are in the legal process, however, it behooves you to gather any and all paperwork related to your case and to provide it to your prospective criminal lawyer at the time of your initial consultation. In this way, your lawyer will be able to begin strategizing – without wasting any time cobbling together the necessary information. The more background information you can bring with you, the more efficiently your criminal lawyer can proceed.
Prepare a Personal Statement
It is in your best interest to prepare a detailed personal statement as soon as you possibly can after you’ve been charged with a crime. The details of our memories can become fuzzy over time, and when those memories are of something as stressful as being charged with a crime, things can become very fuzzy very quickly. Simply write down every single detail you can remember about your arrest and being charged with the crime and the circumstances that surround it, including:
- Everything you remember about the police’s actions in bringing charges against you
- The exact details of any search and seizure that took place
- Exactly where you were when the alleged crime in question took place
- Any information that you think may be pertinent to your case
Remember that even the most innocent-seeming detail could make a difference. By writing down everything you can remember, you avoid the issue of overlooking a detail that could lead to a significant breakthrough in your case.
Create a Witness List
The charges you are facing did not occur in a vacuum, and this means that there are likely witnesses that can corroborate your testimony – or even bring in new insight. When it comes to witnesses in your case, be expansive and include anyone that you can think of who may be able to help. For example, if a friend, family member, or coworker was there when you were charged, include him or her on your witness list. In other words, do not limit your witness list to people who can corroborate your alibi but instead write down anyone who might know anything relevant, including character witnesses. Your goal is to create an exhaustive witness list that provides comprehensive contact information. Your defence lawyer will determine which witnesses are best suited to your case’s defence.
Bring a List of All Your Questions
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you have questions. It’s only natural. While you may think that consulting with a criminal lawyer will be all about him or her asking you questions, this is not the full extent of the matter. Yes, your prospective lawyer will have important questions to ask you about the charges you’re facing and the details involved, but any questions you have are also critical.
Most importantly, you want to make sure you feel comfortable working with your criminal lawyer, and determining this important element involves you asking questions. Further, your questions could very well help guide your initial meeting and your case in general. After all, no one knows more about the charges you are facing at this point than you do, and the questions you bring with you are bound to reflect this knowledge. Consulting with a criminal lawyer, such as the team at Oykhman Criminal Defence Law is a collaborative effort, so bring a list of every question you have – but be sure to list them in order of priority so you’ll have time to address the ones that are most important to you if time gets tight.
Prepare for Your Meeting
If you have a consultation with a prospective criminal lawyer, take the time to prepare yourself ahead of time. This means being well acquainted with the documents you’re sharing and having them organized so that you won’t need to spend a lot of time digging around for a specific item or explaining what you’ve brought. It’s also important to be on time – you’ve been allotted a certain amount of time, and you definitely want to make the most of it. Plan ahead by mapping your route and allowing a time cushion to ensure that you arrive with a few minutes to spare.