If you are charged with a crime that will be processed in a court of law, you should take important steps to prepare a defense that responds to the specific claims. Unless you have legal experience or training, you probably have little information that can help you to get ready for a series of court-based events, including hearings, depositions, and perhaps trial. While you may feel that simply telling the truth is an adequate defense in exonerating your actions, the other side may take a more aggressive approach that could inaccurately characterize you in the courtroom. Here are a few steps that can help to strengthen your defense.
Consult a Criminal Defense Lawyer
An experienced criminal defense attorney can inform you of your rights and responsibilities in a legal case being brought for action in court. The lawyer can explain how the procedures work and what you must do to provide a viable defense. Timelines, records, and preparation for proceedings can also be covered so that you know what to expect and how to plan your legal strategy.
Collect and Organize Relevant Documentation
Your attorney may advise you to obtain copies of various reports and documents, such as a traffic incident report or a police report as well as medical records, if applicable. You might be asked to prepare a timeline of your activities and people familiar with your whereabouts during the time period in question. Accurate, objective documents can make a big difference in your case, so follow your attorney’s advice. In some cases, the attorney will request the forms on your behalf, and you may need to sign a release as permission.
Work with Your Attorney to Identify Potential Witnesses
If witnesses are needed as part of your defense, discuss with your attorney the various individuals who can provide helpful information about your character, employment, relationships, or finances as well as anything that might pertain to your case. Those called to be witnesses should be informed about the expectations for their role in giving depositions, statements, or courtroom testimony.
Cooperate with Counsel and the Court Regarding Legal Requirements
A criminal defense attorney may assign you various tasks to complete within a specific timeframe to support your defense. Follow the guidelines carefully and ask questions if you are not sure how to do something. The attorney can answer questions and assist you if needed in order to meet deadlines in obtaining required materials.
Going to court is not easy. But a skilled defense attorney can facilitate your role to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky Snowball. You can find her on Twitter at @LizzieWeakley and on Facebook at facebook.com/lizzie.weakley.