The moment you realize you need a criminal defense attorney can bring feelings of shock, sadness, anxiety and a host of other emotions. With a rush of thoughts zooming through your head, it can be very easy to either overthink everything or to just shut down altogether. But, as any good attorney or anyone who has been through any serious legal situation will tell you, doing nothing is right up there among the worst things you can do.
We see it way too often in our line of work. Here’s a good example. Someone will get in touch with us because they were arrested the night before for assault. They’ve never been arrested before, and according to them, the circumstances around their assault charge are very confusing and hard to grasp. They are frustrated and scared, and we suggest that they come in for a consultation. They reply that their week is very busy and they’re not sure when they can schedule it, so they will call back the following week. In most of these cases, the person who pushes off scheduling a consultation during that initial phone call will never come in at all. They’ll live in a semi-state of denial about their arrest and pending court date, and they will be ill-prepared when their day in court arrives.
Over the years that we have been practicing law, we can reasonably state that avoiding dealing with it is often the start of a process that only compounds their problems. What started with a single assault charge can then turn into a warrant for failure to appear, because the suspect was also tossing aside any mail they received from the courts regarding their case. Now they’ve got to deal with multiple charges, a much bigger headache, as well as a larger financial hit.
Or maybe they just procrastinate really badly, and they finally call us the morning before their court date, hoping against hope that they can get a consultation that same day, then retain us to represent them in court. While we would never turn this person away, they have made it much more difficult for us to provide them with the best possible defense because we simply don’t have adequate preparation time for their case.
Let’s assume they freak out when they realize they don’t have the money to retain an attorney right there at that moment. If they had come in a few weeks earlier, that is a problem that could have been addressed in several different ways. But now they need to find the resources to make a payment on the retainer, and that may not be possible. If they choose to go to court without an attorney representing them, we wish them the best of luck because they’ll need it. Most judges have disdain for defendants that show up in their courtroom attempting to defend themselves because they don’t understand the legal process, which slows down court proceedings and can make judges feel as though they are making a mockery of their courtroom — never a good thing.
Let’s change the narrative and say that they found the funds for the retainer, and we decided to move forward and take on their case. The attorney on the case stays up late to prep for court the next day, and they do their best to build a solid case for our client, but in the limited time the attorney had to prepare, many pertinent details were never brought into the fold. The outcome could potentially be far less favorable than if a reasonable amount of time was provided to the attorney to delve into the details of the case.
So let’s summarize what you should do if you find yourself charged with a crime and in need of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal attorney, like the team at The Law Offices of James Crawford:
- Don’t procrastinate; that feeling of urgency you have right after you get released is important. It’s your instincts telling you to resolve your issues now before they snowball into something bigger.
- Even if your calendar is chock full, clear some time and schedule your free consultation with us.
- Don’t talk to anyone other than an attorney about your case or any of the details surrounding it.
- Retain an attorney as early in the process as possible, and develop a rapport with them. They are the biggest factor in determining the direction and the outcome of your case.
Our client acquisition specialist Jerry shares with us what to expect when you come in for your consultation with an attorney at The Law Offices of James Crawford:
“What really happens during a consultation? I had no idea until a few years ago when I had a traffic accident and needed an attorney for help. It was a crazy time, and I was dealing with a whirlwind of emotions and stress. If I had spoken to a lawyer face-to-face I’m sure I would have been more at ease with the situation.”
This is our goal at the firm when we meet with a potential new client for a consultation. We aim to put your mind at ease knowing there will be a plan in motion for your legal representation and to reassure you that your situation is not hopeless. Our attorneys will discuss your case with you, give you insights into your situation and what they would do in handling your case, and then ascertain if you wish to move forward working with us. At its core, the consultation is the very first step on the path to a resolution, to peace of mind, to being able to take a deep breath and put your issues behind you.
Call us today at 443-709-9999 for your free consultation.