Hi, I’m Gene Anthes, a criminal defense attorney, and partner at GBAFirm.com and ParoleLaw.com. I wanted to discuss what to expect when you sit down with your initial free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.
What should I expect at my first lawyer meeting?
When you come into my office seeking legal advice, the first thing we’ll have you do is fill out a client information sheet. Everything we discuss is confidential. Lawyers have strict rules on what they can share and it’s important that you know your information will not leave my office. There are a couple of reasons why we ask for this information. The first is so that we can have basic biographical information on you. Many law enforcement agencies will require that we verify certain identifying information before we obtain records. The other reason we ask for this information is that our goal is always to get your case to a point where it can be dismissed and ultimately expunged from your record. When we do the expunction we’ll need the identifying information to make sure all of your records are erased.
It’s okay to bring family or witnesses with you to the initial meeting.
When you come into my office, you may have a family member or someone else with you for support. You may also bring a witness (or witnesses with you). It’s completely okay for you to do so, but please know that I will first talk to you by yourself without anyone else in the room. There are a few reasons for this. The first reason is that I want you to be 100% comfortable with telling me all of the facts of your case. Some of the facts may be embarrassing to you if a family member or loved one is present while we discuss the facts. The other reason is that if a third party is present while the facts of the case are discussed the state could theoretically call that third party to the stand and make them testify as to what took place during the meeting. The presence of the third party, while the facts of your case are discussed effectively, negates the attorney-client privilege. So don’t worry if I call just you in to talk about the facts of your case. We can bring in your family member, loved one, or witness to discuss the procedural issues with your case after we talk about the facts of the case.
How do you prepare for an attorney meeting?
Having said that, it’s very important that you tell your lawyer everything. Please bring all relevant documents to our meeting. I want to know everything about your case, all the relevant information, and nitty-gritty details. I don’t want to be surprised by anything. It’s very important that you’re 100% truthful with your lawyer so we know what to expect when defending you. Tell us about the events leading up, your personal and professional background, any previous criminal charges, all court documents, any damaging evidence, and any other documents or evidence you might think is relevant so we can discuss your legal situation and possible defense strategy.
Once we go over all the facts of your case, we’ll bring in your witnesses after the fact and talk about what they saw, or how they can contribute. What I tell people a lot of times is often, the client will remember the details a lot more than the third party or the witness that they bring with them. And the reason for that is, you’re the client. You’re the one that’s charged with the crime so it sticks out in your mind. To the witness (as a third party) it’s an ancillary event. So what I’ll typically do is get that third party or that witness to write down what they saw so that it sticks in their mind.
Have your witnesses write down what they remember
If your witness can’s be present at the meeting have them write down what they remember from that night. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and can be as simple as asking them to send you an email with every detail they can remember. For example, if you’re charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence it can be helpful to reach out to the last person you know that you saw on the evening you were arrested. That is, who was the last person you said goodbye to before heading home? How did you appear to that person? Did you appear intoxicated? Did they have second thoughts about letting you drive away? Was that person with you that night? If so, can they speak to how much you had to drink or eat that night? These are things that the witness may forget quickly if they don’t write it down.
Once the witness writes down what they remember, forward that information to me. Let the witness know who your attorney is and that your attorney may be reaching out soon to discuss the case. Make sure the witness knows that it’s important to tell your attorney everything they can remember.
What to Expect
Once you and I have gone over the facts of your case, which generally takes about 45 minutes to an hour, then we’ll talk about procedurally what to expect. What’s our plan of action? What steps should you be taking? Should your lawyer be taking, and what steps should you be taking as a client to give you the best chance of success? So as a lawyer, I’m going to go over what the different processes is in the Court, whether we have to go to a Grand Jury, whether there are pre-trial conferences, whether there is a motion to suppress, or whether there is going to be a jury trial.
As the client, I will tell you what steps you can take. Whether you can do some counseling up front, or perhaps maybe use some community service hours. Again, to give you the best chance of success in getting your case resolved. Once the first meeting is over, at that point, you decide whether you want to hire the services of a criminal lawyer or whether you want to get a second opinion.
There’s no pressure, but the big takeaway here that I want to stress is that it’s important that you be 100% honest with your lawyer. Attorney-client confidentiality is the hallmark of our relationship and if I can’t know everything about your case, I’m not going to be able to effectively represent you.
We’re Here to Help
We are Austin criminal defense attorneys with extensive experience in legal representation. Our law office is here to help your friend or loved one. We hope you never need us, but we’re here if you do.
We’re always happy to meet with clients. The first consultation is free. After that, we pride ourselves on communication. When you hire a criminal defense attorney at our firm you can be sure that the attorney will always answer phone calls and respond to emails. Having a criminal matter pending is a stressful time. Part of our job is to answer your questions and alleviate your stress.
- How to respond to a call from a police office (what you should say and NOT say)
- How to clean your criminal record (Get it Expunged)
About Gunter, Bennett, and Anthes – Criminal Defense Lawyers
Here at Gunter, Bennett, and Anthes, we represent individuals and entities under investigation for or charged with all state and federal crimes including:
- Alcohol-Related Offenses include Driving While Intoxicated (DWI arrest), Intoxication Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter
- Legal Emergencies
- Crimes of Violence including assault, battery, domestic violence, family violence, aggravated assault, and homicide
- Sex Offenses including indecency with a Child, Sexual Assault, Possession of Child Pornography, Internet Sex Offenses
- Property Crimes including small cases such as theft by check, shoplifting, or petty theft to complicated cases such as burglary, robbery, credit card fraud, computer theft, identify theft or other cybercrime
- Drug Crimes including the smallest of drug charges such as possession of marijuana to serious felony drug cases like possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute
With over 65 years of combined experience as criminal lawyers, we provide representation from the investigation stage through trial and, if necessary, appeal. Our attorneys are on call 24 hours a day to help with any criminal law matter that may arise.
Austin Lawyer, Gunter, Bennett, and Anthes, Attorneys at Law, is a law firm that proudly serves the Austin TX metro area (and Central Texas) including Travis County, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, Pflugerville, Georgetown, Westlake, Bee Cave, Lakeway, Lago Vista, and Spicewood.