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In dealing with clients who are facing criminal charges we wanted to detail when you should expect from an attorney for a criminal consultation

Consulting with an attorney is the first step in finding representation if you are facing misdemeanor or felony criminal charges.

If you’re reading this then you are already on the right path to obtaining the best results in your case.

Lawyers have a special responsibility for the quality of justice obtained in representing their clients.

As officers of the legal system attorneys must meet important obligations including advising, negotiating, zealous advocacy and maintaining the highest standard of ethical conduct in their work.

For the attorney, each representation implicates various functions and duties.

Consultations provide the proving ground for attorneys to determine whether your goals and the attorney’s responsibilities can be met.

Therefore, in a criminal case, a good lawyer will understandably require a consultation before presenting any agreement to retaining counsel absent practical exigency to act for a client hastily.

Remember a lawyer’s duty requires a meticulous understanding of all aspects of not only the law but it’s application on the particular facts of your case.

Information gathering, contact info, facts of the case, charges, and state of the investigation. 

If your seeking legal advice or representation and reasonably believe the communication will be confidential, the consultation is privileged.

The attorney must determine the scope of the representation which requires information from you.

During the consults, you will have a discussion with the attorney who will need to know some of the details surrounding your legal issue.

Questions will likely cover:

  • Contact information,
  • The charges against you,
  • The county the charges have been filed in,
  • Details about the investigation,
  • General undisputed facts regarding the case.

Other information required will vary case by case. However, to best protect your interests the lawyer’s inquiry will be directed at answering questions that are strictly necessary in determining how best to help you.

It’s important to note that although what you say is privileged your rights may still be affected during the conversation.

Where the prospective client is planning or engaging in criminal or fraudulent conduct or where the culpability of the lawyer’s conduct is involved, full protection of information is not justified.

First, a lawyer may not counsel or assist in conduct that is criminal or fraudulent.

The lawyer’s knowledge of purpose may enable the lawyer to prevent the commission of the prospective crime or fraud. When the threatened injury is grave, the lawyer’s interest in preventing the harm may be more compelling than the interest in preserving the confidentiality of information. However, the lawyer is required to act only if the lawyer has information “clearly establishing” the likelihood of such acts and consequences.

In other exceptional situations, lawyers have the discretion to disclose a client confidence.

As a general matter, such information may be judicially compelled in accordance with recognized exceptions to the attorney client and work product privileges. Such exceptions include for example if the accused has not been apprehended, information necessary to aid in the apprehension of that person, to warn off danger to another person, or even to reveal the identity, residence, occupation, and family status of the accused.

Be aware that under the law there are always exceptions to the rule and where information can be damaging, always proceed with caution. Consulting lawyers must be familiar with disclosure rules when inquiring about the details of your case.

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