Monday, March 4, 2013

Why you should consult with an attorney on even a minor charge - Preparing the case

Now that we've talked about understanding the charge and possible collateral consequences, this post will discuss the process of preparing your case for trial and why consulting with an attorney could make a huge difference.  Picture yourself in this scenario: you have been charged with driving under the influence and decide it's no big deal, you can handle this without an attorney.  What would your next step be?

An attorney should always know what the next step is.  It may be that you interview and subpoena witnesses, it may be that you speak with the Commonwealth Attorney, etc.  The process of preparing the case is essential to the outcome of the case.  For example, let's say you have a friend who tells you he'll come to court and testify that you were never actually driving the car.  That sounds great, right?  Do you know how to ensure his presence at trial?  Or are you simply taking his word for it that he'll show up on your trial date? Do you know what questions you can ask that witness on the stand?  Do you know how to prepare that witness for the cross examination he will endure by the prosecution?

There is a lot that goes into preparing for a case even on a minor charge.  It may appear simple.  However, there are a lot of peculiar things that attorneys know and understand that will increase the chances of your success at trial.

Again, many attorneys will offer an initial consultation for a minimal fee.  No matter how small the charge, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney to determine how to best handle the case at hand.