Top 10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Free Legal Consultation
If you’re in need of a Baltimore criminal defense attorney, you’re already at a stressful point in your life, and preparing to meet a lawyer for the first time can add to that. Preparing to meet a criminal case attorney can be intimidating, and you want to make the most out of your free legal consultation as you can so you can feel confident proceeding with the case and moving forward.
Both reputable Baltimore criminal defense attorneys and Baltimore drug defense lawyers will offer a free legal consultation on your case before you move forward and officially hire them on and sign a contract. This consultation is a chance for you and them to become familiar with your case as it stands legally, what costs you may incur, and what your expected outcome will be.
In order to maximize the benefit of the free legal consultation, we’ve put together the top 10 tips to make the most out of your free legal consultation with a criminal defense attorney. If you prepare following these ten steps, your consultation will be more beneficial and give you a better understanding of how to move forward.
1) Research Your Local Criminal Defense Attorneys Before Scheduling an Appointment
Even before you get to the free legal consultation appointment, research the Baltimore criminal defense attorneys you plan on working with. Online reviews, ratings, and public court documents can all help you assess if this is the right law firm to partner with on your case, and if you’ll be working with someone reputable in the community.
Check to see if their services align with your needs, ensure they are not poorly rated or reviewed, and scan recent court documents to see if they often win their cases. A little bit of legwork before the first meeting can do a lot for your long term goals concerning the court case. You want someone who is familiar with the portion of the law you’re dealing with, is knowledgeable, and is active with their practice.
2) Know Your Goal Before You Meet for the Free Legal Consultation
Knowing what you want before you meet with a criminal defense attorney is very important. It’s easy to think “I want to win” but there is a lot more to a court case than just winning. Regardless of working with a Baltimore drug crimes lawyer or a general criminal defense attorney, you need to know exactly what resolution you’re hoping for.
For some clients, this may be removing any chance of jail time and settling for a larger fine, or perhaps you want some charges dropped while others you are okay with. Know your ideal resolution and what you’ll settle for, as this can go a long way towards helping your criminal defense attorney evaluate your case.
3) Baltimore Drug Crimes Lawyers Appreciate a Summary of the Case
To prepare for the free legal consultation with a criminal defense attorney, have your situation already summarized. It’s important to not waste a lawyer’s time (or yours) telling a long winded version of the story. It’s perfectly acceptable to write down or rehearse what you’re going to say, that way you are more prepared and able to start off on a strong foot.
A summarized story is critical so you don’t include information that doesn’t matter, or you don’t accidently go off on a tangent. Think about your situation and what pertains to the legal situation you are facing and begin there.
4) Criminal Defense is All About the Facts, Not the Emotions
This may be one of the harder aspects of working with a Baltimore criminal defense attorney, but you need to stay focused on the facts over your emotions. Although this is a stressful and difficult time, lawyers handle actions and are not equipped to deal with emotional insights that don’t affect the case. To combat this urge, think about what you’re going to say and how it comes off, particularly if it includes any extra information that isn’t relevant.
For example, don’t explain that you were angry and seeing red and that’s why you committed any action that you did, just address the action that you committed. It may be tempting to explain away the situation by outlining the emotional response, but the emotional response won’t help your lawyer get a clear picture.
5) Your Criminal Defense Attorney Needs to Know What Actions Put You at Fault
Another difficult aspect of preparing for a free legal consultation is preparing what you’re going to say about your part in the criminal case. Baltimore drug defense lawyers and criminal case attorneys work with a wide range of people, and their job is to work on the defense without judging their clients.
You may be used to explaining away your actions through emotional justifications or you may highlight how other people involved are at fault, but you also need to own up to your actions or mistakes. Tell these as a fact, without emotional responses, and let your attorney get a clear picture. Once they understand the whole picture, they can help provide a defense that isn’t affected by omitted truths.
6) You Need to Have Realistic Expectations During Your Free Legal Consultation
With emotions high, you may have expectations to meet with a Baltimore criminal defense attorney and hear that you’re going to win your case no matter what it takes. It’s important to not get caught up in the idea of winning full out, but hearing what your lawyer actually says about your case and your options.
Many reputable criminal defense attorneys won’t promise a win, especially not right away. What the free legal consultation is set up to do is to provide you with insight into your case and what you’re facing. Don’t disregard a lawyer who outlines the difficulties ahead, because their job is to set you up for a realistic outcome. Ask your lawyer what they really think, and follow-up by asking to hear their legal plan.
7) Have a List of Questions Prepared for Your Baltimore Criminal Defense Attorney
A lot can happen during a free legal consultation, including a lot of information being shared and documents reviewed. It can be easy to forget what concerns you had and what additional information you wanted. Before you meet up, write down all of the questions you have about the charges you are facing or about the case in general.
To make the most of your list, sort your questions by most important to least important. Free legal consultations are often on a timed limit, so don’t waste your valuable meeting by asking about things that can wait. Discuss the case, and then review your questions in the remaining time to see what was not answered.
8) Take Notes and Be Patient During Your Criminal Defense Consultation
Once you meet with a Baltimore criminal defense attorney, you may feel a high level of anxiety to dive in and get things rolling. Legal cases, however, can take a long time, and don’t happen right away. During your consultation, be patient, really listen, and jot down all the important notes that you discuss. If you cut off your attorney you risk not hearing important information or getting the advice you need.
For the duration of your case, be patient, head your lawyer’s advice, and jot down specific details that you need to know and reference.
9) Don’t Forget to Discuss Costs With Your Drug Crimes Lawyer
Unfortunately, hiring a Baltimore drug defense lawyer is not free or relatively cheap. Attorneys go to school for a long time to understand the complexities of the law, and as their reputation increases, often so can their rates. Lawyers require compensation to not only cover their time with you one on one, but their time doing research, drafting letters, and being in court.
Your free legal consultation is a chance to understand the time and cost commitment you are facing. Some criminal defense attorneys work off of a retainer, while others have a straight hourly fee. Ask about how they charge and your payment options. Keep in mind that a longer court case requires more money, and discuss possible outcomes that may increase their fees.
10) In the End, Be on Time, Be Respectful, and Be Prepared for Your Criminal Case Lawyer
Your free legal consultation with a local Baltimore criminal defense attorney is a first impression that you want to be ready for. Don’t waste their time and be sure to show up on time, or even a few minutes early. Dress in business casual, be respectful, and take the matter seriously. No matter if you are distraught, stressed, angry, mad, or depressed, you need to make the most of the meeting for the both of you to move towards a positive resolution.
Hiring a criminal case attorney is not easy and is not a situation people want to be in, but once you find yourself reaching out to lawyers, it is important to make the most of their time. In the end, listen to your gut and meet with a few law firms so you understand your options and can move forward with confidence. Saller Law is available for free consultations with clients, just request an appointment online with case details, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.