When you have been arrested on suspicion of drug possession , driving under the influence (DUI) , assault , or any other criminal offense , you need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights. Once you hire an attorney, however, there are a number of things you can to be proactive on your own behalf as well. You can help your case considerably by keeping an open line of communication with your lawyer and by providing him or her with all information that could be pertinent to your defense.
Before you meet even with your attorney, you should begin to:
Any and all paperwork and documents you receive from police, prosecutors, the court or any government agency could be relevant to your defense. Keep everything in a specific file and be sure to give your lawyer copies of documents such as:
• Search warrants and other documents related to a search executed by police;
• Arrest warrants and accompanying affidavits;
• Documents related to bail and the conditions of your release;
• Any evidence the prosecution has turned over;
• Charging documents;
• Any documents related to prior crimes for which you have been arrested and/or convicted; and
• Documents regarding your next court date
Write Down Your Story
It is not uncommon for criminal defendants to forget details over time, or they may have trouble recounting the situation for their attorneys. As soon as you are able, create a written account of your version of the events leading up to your arrest, booking, and release. It will helpful for you to have this record available when you speak to your attorney, though you may not need to give him or her a copy. Instead, you may wish to use the document as a reference to answer your lawyer’s questions.
Compile a List of Witnesses
Think about people who may need to testify at your trial. Potential witnesses may include:
• Witnesses to the events in question;
• Anyone who can confirm your alibi;
• Those who can speak to your character;
• Anyone who may have information on potential witnesses for the prosecution; and
• Witnesses who can substantiate your version of the events.
Names and contact information for such witnesses are most helpful, but even if you do not know the name of a particular person—a store clerk, for example, or a bartender—you should still include them if you think they could help.
Know Your Rights
Keep in mind that what you tell your attorney is confidential, even if you admit to committing a crime. Your attorney is focused on showing that the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to convict you, ensuring you that you are treated fairly and in accordance with your constitutional rights. At the same time, your attorney cannot ethically introduce evidence or present arguments in court that he or she knows to be false . Criminal defense attorneys understand this fine line, and your lawyer will guide your conversation accordingly.
Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges, our firm can provide individualized and thorough counsel to you, no matter how serious your case may. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney who will listen to your story and help you formulate an appropriate defense. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.