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Paul D. Cramm

What To Know Before Talking To A Criminal Defense Attorney


When you’re considering hiring an attorney for criminal defense, it’s safe to assume that you are dealing with a serious legal matter. This means that you cannot afford to be unprepared. To make the most of your meeting, efficiency is key. Here’s how to make sure you’re ready.

What to Bring to the First Meeting:

  • Contact Information: Have a list ready with your home address, email, phone number, and any other relevant contact information. This will save time in the meeting.
  • Case Facts: You will also need to have the necessary facts about your case both memorized and written down, including dates, names, and specific dispute events.
  • Evidence and Documents: Bring copies of any documents that could provide necessary information or proof of your case, including correspondence, police reports, pictures, or contracts. The more organized this information is, the better.
  • A Defined Goal: In order to properly assist you, your lawyer must know exactly what you’re asking of him or her. Your meeting will run much more efficiently if you take the time to have your goal clearly defined. Some example goals are the negotiation of a contract, a response to a lawsuit, or forming a new business.
  • Questions: Have some questions outlined before you talk to your attorney. Some example questions include whether the lawyer has handled similar cases in the past, how long the process will take, what practical options exist for moving forward with the case, and how the attorney expects the other side to respond.

Consider this initial meeting formal and business-related. That means you should show up on time, dress professionally, and always be polite. Although time is important at this stage, don’t rush too much, as you and your attorney will both need a chance to evaluate each other. Allow them to ask the questions, at first, and make sure that you’re always as honest as possible. The more upfront you are, the more time you save.

What you should Leave the Meeting with:

  • Clarity on your Situation: You should expect to leave this initial meeting with practical advice for your situation. It may also turn out that you and the attorney don’t decide to work together. Either way, there should be no doubt about what the meeting accomplished.
  • Pricing Information: If you and the lawyer both decide to proceed, you should know exactly what you’ll be paying for their services. This could include an agreement for legal services or a retainer and should be clearly explained by your attorney. Make sure you fully understand this before signing.
  • A Way to Keep in Touch: Make sure you know exactly how to keep in touch with your lawyer when you leave the meeting so you both can contact each other in case of further questions.

Find out exactly what your lawyer expects of you and follow through as soon as possible. And lastly, make sure that you bring a method of payment, in case your attorney requires this upfront. Follow all of these guidelines and your meeting will run smoothly and efficiently.

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About the Author

This practice has been exclusively devoted to all levels of criminal defense from misdemeanor offenses in municipal court to felony matters in the Federal courts of Kansas and the Western District of Missouri. Paul D. Cramm is qualified to provide defense in Capital and Death Penalty cases.

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