What Do You Look For in a Criminal Case?
Below, Virginia criminal defense attorney Matthew Crowley discusses what he looks for in a criminal case. To learn more about criminal cases or discuss your case schedule a free consultation today.
What Are Some of the First Questions You Ask a Potential Client During Initial Intake Process?
I like to learn about potential clients. I like to know as much about them as I can. It’s important to me to know who they are, what they do, what their circumstances in life are, where they’re from, how long they’ve been in the area. All of the things that are going help me get to know them are going humanize them to a prosecutor and, potentially, to a judge and jury.
I think that’s always an important context to begin with. I also, at the very beginning, asking them detailed questions about the facts of their case. I want to know how they came to encounter law enforcement. I want to know what happened in the course of the arrest or the stop as the case may be. I want to know what statements they’ve made, I want to know what was said to them, I want to know who may have witnessed what was going on.
I’m particularly interested in any comments that either the police have made or what a magistrate may have said or even what the judge may have said.
In the first encounter I’m asking all of these questions, I’m finding out as much as I possibly can. If it’s a situation where someone needs quick advice, I want to know quickly what their circumstances are, have they been arrested or are they about to be arrested, are police there.
Are There Any Questions That You Are Frequently Asked By Potential Clients?
Yes. Potential clients nearly have concerns that are particular to them, to their life circumstances, but some of them were common things that people want to know is am I going to go to jail, is that a possibility in my case, am I going to lose my driver’s license or my commercial driver’s license in this case. Might I have a protective order entered against me, are there places that I won’t be allowed to go.
They want to know what the possible defenses are.Potential clients, particular in the Northern Virginia area, are often quite sophisticated. They have, many times, already done some research and they want to know is there whether there are legal issues that arises because they weren’t given a Miranda warning, or did not consent to a search of their vehicle lawful, just to give a couple of examples.
Individuals frequently wanting to ask me about myself. They want to know what kind of cases I’ve handled before, what kind of experience I have, and what I’m bringing to the table. I always take as much time as needed to answer those kinds of questions so they can begin to reach a comfort level with me.
How Do You Go About Answering a Client’s Questions?
To begin with, you have to know the specifics. You have to have invested the time in really knowing your client, in really knowing the facts of the case, and then you have to have the experience that allows you to really know the law and how the facts of their case fit within it.
Clients are entitled to honest, accurate information and I am obligated to provide it.
When I’m asked about particular defenses, in most cases I can answer those readily, I can let them know what my understanding of the law is and how that fits into their case. Sometimes some additional thought or research is necessary. It is critical to the case that I arrive at well thought out, tactically appropriate answers to the fundamental questions.