Arrests and Legal Counsel: Some Advice
Do not give a statement.
If you are ever arrested and taken into custody and the police and anyone suspects that you have committed a crime, there is no reason that you should give a statement. This can turn out to bite you in the behind. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law, and if you are suspected of a crime, then you can bet that the police are going to be trying to convict you of it and prove that it was you that committed it. They always want to catch their guy, and they might even pretend to be friendly with you to do it. This is not to say that the police are the bad guys, they are just trying to do their jobs. This is where you want to insist on having a lawyer present. When you tell them this, you should make sure that this is as clear and concise as possible. It is always important to be polite, but you need to make sure that you are firm. You are going to want to make sure that you talk with a lawyer before making any legal decisions. If you trust other people in other areas of your life to service you well within their professions, and do not try to put your own car up on a lift or put your own insulation in your house, do not try and take control in an area where you have an extraordinarily little amount knowledge and thus will have truly little control.
Do NOT ask the police for advice. Think about this.
Look, if you ask the police if you should have a lawyer present, they are always going to tell you no. Of course, they are going to try and talk you out of requesting legal counsel. Remember, they are not your friends. They aren’t bad, but they are not your friends. They are highly trained in interrogation and questioning techniques and every single one of them is designed to elicit some sort of emotional reactions from you and hopefully (for them) a confession. It doesn’t matter what they say to you, you do not have to speak to them about anything. You do not have to answer their questions without a lawyer present, and you are allowed to tell them this, firmly and sincerely, and then remain quiet. This is what we recommend you do.
Do not sign anything.
This is less of a recommendation and more of an order. Anything that the police present to you without your lawyer is probably not going to end up working in your favor in an equal amount that it works in theirs. You will most likely get the raw end of the deal and not really have anything to show for it. Always insist. Insist you are not signing anything. Say “I insist, politely but firmly”. This is something that I use to communicate that I am in no way attempting to be rude to the officers, but that I will not proceed any further without my legal counsel. “I insist”. Use it. Your lawyer is going to take care of everything else. They will be able to talk and deal with the police. They can also tell you if you are truly at risk of being charged with a crime. Police often tell people that they can be charged with something, even when they do not have substantial evidence. They will do this and hope that your lawyer does not get to you while they are enacting their little play to get you to concede. You would probably feel pretty dumb if you succumbed to something that the police wanted you to do and it turned out that the threats they were putting on the table were not actually significant. I don’t know about you, but that would make me really, angry. And most of the time you won’t be able to prove it because they will of course have the camera and the microphone off when they are telling you all this great stuff about freedom and getting off scot-free. If you DO think that you are at risk of being charged with a crime at any point, stop talking. Stop talking and get in contact with a lawyer. Preferably a criminal defense lawyer.
You want to know the specialty of your counsel.
In most cases, lawyers tend to build and focus their careers on specific areas or fields. Some lawyers may specialize in elder law, while others may focus on marital and divorce law, bankruptcy, or personal injury. Some may even focus on specific personal injuries, for example, injuries sustained while pressure washing, doing windshield repair, or performing roofing services. These are just a few examples, there are bunches of different types of law that attorneys pursue, and you are most likely going to want an expert working on your specific case. All lawyers will have general knowledge of all areas of the law, as this is required to pass the BAR and will come up periodically in their career. You are most likely going to want an attorney who is fully competent in law that you are dealing with, and you’re going to want to make sure they know what they are doing. But do not discount someone just because they may not specialize in that area, because it may be an exceptionally intelligent person that can get the research done and come up with a solution that makes everyone happy. Lawyers do not tend to be stupid people, and even though they may not specialize in that area, they might be able to come up with something that even someone that DID specialize in it could not. You’re going to want to feel out your counsel to determine if they have enough knowledge and on the job experience for you to feel comfortable that they are “trained to go” in any situation. You want someone competent to have your back when it is literally dealing with your freedom. You may also want to ask questions about previous cases, high profile, interesting or otherwise that they may have been involved in or done research on which may apply to your situation. They might be able to help you out with a bail bondsman for the future if you find yourself in situations where you may need counsel a lot. No judgement here, just a suggestion. Always be vigilant for any information you may be able to offer to your attorney that may be able to help you.
Deciding how things will end beforehand is important, cover the variables.
It is important to determine how the relationship is going to end, in the beginning. You are always going to want to ask this of a service professional. No one knows how things are going to end up. If they will go off without a hitch, whether they will go smoothly or not. If some of these more negative aspects begin to take form, then you are going to want to have an exit plan. Covering all your bases will always make sure that you are covered and taken care of and everything that could happen is addressed. Say, for example, someone dies. This is a grim consideration to make, but things like this happen, such is the nature of life. Maybe there is an issue or a shakeup at the law firm and things start to change around. You are going to want to know what will happen to the nature of your relationship with this person business wise if they are not there to ensure things or perhaps something else happens.
Fast & Reliable Responses.
Most of the time, if there is a complaint against an attorney’s office, it usually had to do with the length of time that it takes for the counsel (or their secretaries or people that also represent the firm) to get back into contact with a customer. An unresponsive lawyer is a quick way for you to lose patience and even more so, confidence in them. Losing confidence in your legal counsel is not a good feeling. We all know that a lawyer is one of the highest paid and busiest professions in the United States of America and even the world. We know that the lawyer is busy, we know they have other cases. They still need to make it a priority to contact you about your case and about any questions you may have. Now, if you are leaving them multiple messages a day, stressing them out, and being a general pest while offering nothing helpful in the form of information or otherwise, then this is not the lawyer’s fault. So don’t bug your counsel unnecessarily. It is normally not a particularly good sign if a lawyer is trying to do every single job in the office, from taking phone calls and planning to the actual legal legwork as well. It is simply too much work for one person. If this is what your lawyer is doing, you better hope you are the only case that they have. Before the relationship is formally and legally bound, you should establish with your lawyer how he/she will be getting in contact with you. How you should contact them if you need to ask them a quick question. Things like that. Of course, this guy or gal might not be there every single time you call, and you cannot expect unreasonable things like that and continue to maintain a good relationship with your lawyer, which we think is important. It isn’t supposed to be this way, but if a person likes you, they will fight harder for you. This is a no brainer.
Some charge just for a talk and some advice. Whatever you do, use your brain.
Legal advice is not free most of the time. You may find some attorneys that are willing to give you advice if they know you will pay or have been a client in the past, but most of the time you ARE going to have to shell out something, even if you are just asking a few questions. So, know this going forward. That way you don’t walk into an office and walk out with a bill in your hand you didn’t know that you were going to get. We’re telling you now, so, no excuse after this! It is probably a god idea to figure out the structure that the attorney or the office uses for billing. If the case is casual or routine, a flat figure is normal and usually better. Something with a possibly large financial judgement it is reasonable for the attorney to ask for a percentage of this. It just depends on your situation and your case. Some attorneys will charge hourly rates. These tend to be exceedingly high, so you may want to ask what they are before going forward with any sort of representation. If you use your common sense, keep your wits about you, and make sure that you are pursuing the correct attorney for your specific case, you will most likely be fine.
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