Pre Charge Processes
What happens when I am charged with a crime?
What should I wear to court?
How Long Do Criminal Cases Take To Resolve?
Do I have to go to trial?
When can the police search me?
First, police can search you if you give them “consent” to search you. The police can also conduct a “pat down” search if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are armed. If the police have probable cause to believe you are carrying illegal substances or are otherwise engaged in a crime, the police can conduct a search. Finally, upon a lawful arrest or detainment, the police can search you and your “wingspan” for the crime of arrest, for evidence, instrumentalities and fruits of that crime, and for any other crimes in which the police have developed probable cause.
What are my rights when I am interacting with the police?
When speaking with the police, be respectful. Do not run, argue, resist or obstruct the police, and always keep your hands where the police can see them. If you are being arrested, you will be read your Miranda Rights, which includes the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present when questioned. These rights are not automatic and must be expressed to the police to be invoked. Any additionally information which you volunteer will be used against you.
If you are unsure whether you are free to leave or not, ask. If they say no, then you have the right to know why and the right to remain silently. If the police say you are free to leave, then calmy and silently walk away. As a pedestrian in Iowa, there is no law requiring you to give your name if you are asked to identify yourself during a temporary stop. In all instances though, you should be as respectful as possible while also asserting your rights. If the law has been broken, we will use that in your defense and to argue that the evidence should be thrown out. What will not help your case is when you try and argue with the police at the scene. You should simply be respectful in asserting your rights and keep quiet.
What should I do after I have been arrested?
Hiring A Criminal Lawyer
If I am innocent should I get a lawyer?
What happens at an initial consultation?
At the initial consultation the attorney will generally ask you to give him or her a brief description of what you need help with. At this point, the attorney is not looking for the whole story, but a brief summary. He or she will then ask you a series of targeted questions in order to determine: The nature of your legal issue;
• Your legal options;
• Whether the attorney can assist you;
• Your prospects of success; and
• The amount of work that will be required to achieve your goals, and the cost associated with such work. At this point, the attorney will try not to go into more detail than is necessary for him or her to make these judgments. More detailed fact gathering will occur after the initial consultation if you decide to hire the attorney.
Once the attorney has an understanding of your case, he or she will typically let you know what your legal options are, your prospects of success in achieving your goals, and how much he or she expects this to cost.
The attorney will generally tell you the next steps in your case and tell you how much he or she will require as a retainer if you would like to move forward. A retainer is basically a down payment for the attorney’s work. It is kept in a trust account and remains your money and refundable until the attorney earns it.
The initial consultation is a great time to ask the attorney any questions that you have, including questions about his or her experience with cases like yours. Attorneys will usually not answer specific legal questions until you have retained them, but they may answer general legal questions for the purpose of assisting you with the decision about whether to move forward with your matter.
Should I hire a lawyer from the same place as where the court appearance is?
The advantage to hiring a local lawyer is that the lawyer has a greater familiarity with the day-to-day idiosyncrasies of that area, and will also have a greater familiarity with the other attorneys and Court clerks working in the area.
Why choose a law firm? (How to choose a law firm?)
Most people rarely need an attorney and do not know how to choose one. These pointers can help.
Ability & Service
First and foremost, a law firm should have the ability to obtain the results you deserve. They should also provide you with good service. Study the credentials and background of the firm’s attorneys. Review their website. Speak with the lawyers. How are you treated? Are your phone calls returned?
Does the law firm have a strong track record as successful litigators? Substantial trial experience is important. Be aware that many lawyers have little to none. Even though most cases settle out of court, you will be in a stronger bargaining position during settlement talks if the other side knows your lawyers have the track record to beat them at trial.
In addition to a track record of strong results, do they have the skills that matter? Not all law firms are created equal. Some are better at certain types of cases, while others have unique skills, such as negotiation. While most cases settle before trial, you do not automatically get what you deserve; you get what you earn. So think what specialized training does the firm have and how is it reflected in the firm’s results.
Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better
When choosing a law firm, bigger does not mean better. Many larger firms need to run on volume just to cover their overhead and have large bureaucracies that are difficult for their clients to navigate. Cases may be processed in batches, so the unique aspects of each client are lost in the shuffle. When your lawyer is not paying attention to you, it is easy to become frustrated and dissatisfied. Make sure when your lawyer is talking to you that you’re the most important client he or she has.
How will I be kept informed of my case?
What do I do when I have a question?
Once you have found an attorney to handle an issue, you may be wondering what to expect with regards to lawyer communication, competence, ethics, and fees. This article outlines these topics and provides useful tips and rules regarding what you can expect from your attorney.
Lawyer communication refers to the correspondence and communication between a client and his/her attorney. If you have a lawyer communication problem, you may be wondering if you have a bad attorney or if he or she is doing a poor job on your case. You should know that many states have laws regarding when and how a lawyer must communicate with clients. In general, you can expect to get a general overview of your case whenever you request it from your attorney. In addition, you can expect your attorney to call you back or return your emails in a timely manner. If your attorney does not respond within a business day, he or she should provide you with a reason why they were unable to answer your question (typically, it’s because your lawyer is in court).
If your attorney fails to communicate effectively with you, then you may have valid cause for your worries. When speaking or leaving a message with your attorney, you should be clear about your concerns so that the problem can be remedied. If your attorney is not responsive to your concerns, then you may want to consider finding alternative legal representation.