If you were recently arrested and charged with a criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, you are undoubtedly worried about your fate and likely a bit intimidated by the legal system in general. If you have retained the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney, or are planning to do so in the near future, you have taken the most important step toward taking protecting yourself and your future. If you have never needed a criminal defense attorney before, however, you may not know what to expect from your first meeting. While no two criminal prosecutions are the same, and therefore no two initial meetings with a criminal defense attorney are exactly the same, there are some things you can do that apply to just about any first meeting with a criminal defense attorney, including:
- Gather any documents you have and make copies. The type of documents you may have depends, to a great extent on where you are at in the prosecution of your case. If you have not been formally charged yet, for example, you may have very little in the way of documents. On the other hand, if you have already been charged and made your first appearance you might have documents such as:
- Charging documents that show the offense with which you have been charged.
- Probable cause affidavit, showing a brief summary of the evidence that led to your arrest.
- Order to appear telling you when your nest court date is
- Release conditions if you were released on bond
- Any other documents you were given by the jail, the court, or the prosecutor
- Write out a narrative of what has happened to date. Most people are a bit nervous when they meet with a criminal defense attorney for the first time. This may make you more likely to forget important details of the case and/or confuse details when explaining the case to your attorney. Writing out a summary ahead of time ensures that you will remember all pertinent facts and will provide your attorney with a reference when he/she is reviewing the case after you leave. It also allows you more time to focus on questions you may have and on getting started with your defense strategy while you are at your meeting.
- Make a list of witnesses. As your attorney works on your defense, he/she will likely want to speak to anyone who may be a witness on your behalf down the road. This may include anyone who:
- Can corroborate your version of events
- Witnessed the crime
- Was with you if you claim to have an alibi
- Might have seen you if you claim an alibi
- Can testify to your character in general
- Might have damaging evidence against an alleged victim in the case
- Can directly refute any evidence the State has against you
- Prepare a list of questions. Because you will likely be nervous during the meeting it is always best to write out a list of questions you wish to ask in advance. Doing so ensures that you will not forget to ask anything important.
- Make sure you are in the right mind set. This may sound a bit strange; however, it can be important to make sure you are emotionally prepared for the meeting. Being charged with a criminal offense is certainly cause for a wide range of emotions. Understandably, you may be feeling defensive and skeptical. Make sure, however, that you remember that your attorney is in your corner and, therefore, you would be wise to pay attention to and heed the advice your attorney gives you.
By following the above steps your first consultation with your criminal defense attorney should be a positive and productive meeting.
If you have been charged with a crime, or are concerned that you might be charged with one, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney today.