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Questions and Answers About The First Meeting – Consultation With My Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – The first meeting with your Colorado criminal lawyer is intended to do many things – among them -begin evaluating the specific defense or tactics to be employed in your case.
Before meeting with you lawyer – much information – if available – should be assembled.
For spouses, parents, friends and family – the crisis that brings with it a need for a criminal lawyer can begin with a phone call from the jail or the station house. It may be a referral from a civil attorney, or a person who has received a grand jury subpoena. At times – and this is one of the most frightening of situations – the police arrive en masse and begin a search of your home with a search warrant.
In juvenile criminal cases, a school principal will discovery “sexting” type e-mails have been sent to a boyfriend or threatening statements have been made, The call under those circumstances reflects on fears of the impact of such indiscretions on their child’s academic record.
What ever the reason for the call – there are consistent themes that predominate:
Make contact with the lawyer you want to retain.
If you are in custody and cannot contact your family in a timely way – you must assert your right to remain silent and to a lawyer. The lawyer cannot do always do that for you by calling the police station or the jail. Seconds here may be crucial – so always remember that fact.
The lawyer cannot always get to the jail or the interrogation room as quickly as necessary to stop the interrogation. It may be after hours and a phone call to the DA may not be possible. If it is – the lawyer will call the DA and instruct him or her he or she represents you and to make certain all questioning ceases.
Many police investigations involve widespread “nets” that focus on different players in the crime being investigated. A critical question your lawyer should answer is what role will you play in the case. Two legal terms of art apply. If there has not been an arrest – then the first question is are you the “target” of the investigation – or just a witness.
Whether you are a “target” or a “witness” in an investigation is not always clear – but classically speaking – “target” is someone the DA intends to charge and a “witness” is someone who has useful information and will not be charged.
A ‘subject” is kind of a wobbler – and is a person of interest whose status can change and who can go either way.
If a target of an investigation has already been charged and – or arrested, the lawyer must locate the charging documents. These include the information and complaint or indictment, the arrest warrant (if applicable), the search warrant and supporting affidavit of probable cause (if applicable).
You should never talk to ANYONE except your lawyer about the investigation, the facts and evidence in the case and the charges. This warning INCLUDES friends, family and cell-mates.
Never consent to ANY form of search, and if the police say they have a search warrant – demand to see it BEFORE you let them into your home or place of business.
In making a serious felony case – there is no mistake that not only will friends, co-workers, employees, and cell mates be pressured to “turn state’s evidence” the threats can be very real such as a possible prosecution as a co-conspirator and the serious threat of a material witness warrant. Yes – even family can be subpoenaed and forced to testify or beheld in contempt of court.
Only marital and attorney-client privilege usually apply in this situation – contrary to popular belied – there is no such thing as “intra-family privilege.” Mothers – fathers – brothers and sisters CAN be called to testify against you at hearings and trials.
The standard answer when these important people in your life ask? –
“My lawyer told me that I can’t talk about the case.” If this tool is NOT used – confiding in friends and family may actually make them targets and they may receive subpoenas to find out what you have said to them.
Turning state’s evidence may seem like a great idea on it’s face – but it is dangerous. The pressure to make an immediate decision as to whether you will “cooperate” with the police. All decisions in this regard should be based on a strict risk benefit analysis.
While some information -or “intel” may be valuable to the prosecution – a short delay for clarification of the “contract” – the quid pro quo – of the agreement with the prosecution is needed. Your lawyer – if they are experienced – is capable of negotiating the exchange and obtain the best possible result from the nature of the cooperation.
Some things you should look for and expect:
Cases turn not on what the possible evidence against you might be – but what the ACTUAL evidence known to law enforcement is.
You should disclose every single detail you know about the individuals involved. Who knows what – when -how – and why. Ask how your client knows what he says or how might the witnesses know what the police attribute to them:
The facts should be clear and repeated over and over until they are clear Any gaps should be filled in and copious notes should be taken. If the lawyer does not take notes or otherwise records the interview – ask yourself why. While “building rapport” is necessary- so is clarity and consistency – do NOT be offended if the lawyer writes down your words and later asks you to write a detailed statement and autobiographical statement about yourself.
Sometimes the lawyer will take notes and then later dictate a file memo quickly thereafter to make the facts clear in the client’s file or to raise new issues not previously addressed but that need to be answered. .
The clear goal here is to find out your version of events and the story of your life. It is not meant to be intrusive but, above all, intrusive or not, it must be thorough. Lawyers must know everything if they are to defend you and control, as much as possible, what happens in court.
Most ethical and experienced lawyers will seek the whole truth and not the client’s false story, Lawyers who try to attempt and to maintain “intentional ignorance” are playing a losing game in the long run.
At the end of each area there should be closure with words such as – “Have I missed anything?” or “Is there anything else I should know about or you want to tell me about?
The lawyer should run the risk of irritating you – but should always confront you with inconsistencies, gaps and even apparent lies in his or her effort to get to the truth. Do NOT be offended. The lawyer should be professional at all times but maintain the goals of the interview itself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author – A Denver Colorado Drug Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.
If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about Questions and Answers About The First Meeting – Consultation With My Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.
H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.
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Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving …Questions and Answers About The First Meeting – Consultation With My Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer.