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The MacNeil Firm Ltd.

What Can I Expect When I Call Your Office Regarding My Criminal Case?


My office phones are generally answered by my helpful and friendly office staff, although sometimes calls are forwarded directly to my cell phone. Our firm has a brick and mortar office building, so I am not a lawyer who is running their practice out of the trunk of their car. I have people who assist callers and help direct their phone calls. After getting some basic information that will help us evaluate their situation, my staff will generally transfer the call to an attorney. If I happen to be in court or out of the office, then they may direct the call to my cell phone. Many lawyers don’t give out their mobile phone numbers, but I’ve found that it’s the best way to communicate with potential and existing clients. If for some reason I can’t pick up a call, I will return voicemail messages within 30 minutes. Our attentiveness to phone calls is something that we take pride in because when people are under the stress of a new arrest, they need the comfort of speaking to an attorney as soon as possible.

Will I Get To Meet With You In Person Before Deciding If I Want You To Handle My Criminal Case?

It is completely up to the potential client to decide whether or not they would like to meet with me before deciding if they want me to handle their case. With more serious and complicated misdemeanor or felony cases, I do prefer to meet in person. However, if someone is simply dealing with a traffic ticket or something of that nature and cannot come into my office, then we could handle everything over the phone. With that said, most people prefer to meet face to face before deciding to retain me.

What Can I Expect In My First Meeting With A Criminal Defense Attorney In Your Office?

We usually start the first meeting by discussing the charges and looking at paperwork. I make sure that potential clients understand the nature of the charges and the possible penalties. From there, I will ask questions about the arrest. Most people think that I want to hear their side of the story, but that generally isn’t true. I carefully acquire information about the situation without needing them to make any admissions or incriminating statements, which could hurt my ability to defend them later on in court. After we’ve talked about the facts of the case, I usually give a few thoughts as to what our defense strategy might be. At that point, I wouldn’t have seen any evidence, so the defense strategy could change. However, having done criminal and DUI defense for over 20 years, I’m usually pretty accurate in terms of how we’ll proceed in a case. I will also discuss and answer questions about the procedure and logistics of the case, such as how many times we are going to have to go to court, whether or not there will be a preliminary hearing or a grand jury trial, and whether or not a good judge will be assigned to the case.

I go over personal topics with potential clients, including their marital status, education history, and work history. Having this information allows me to get to know them a little better, and may also be helpful if I need to emphasize the positive aspects of their life to a judge or prosecutor. We really take time in our initial interviews to make sure that we’ve gone over everything and answered all of the questions. Lastly, we discuss legal fees. We are very transparent and present all potential fees to the client. We can’t predict exactly what every case will cost, but we generally have a pretty good idea.

What Should I Bring With Me To My First Meeting With My Criminal Defense Attorney?

To the first meeting with a criminal defense attorney, potential clients should bring any paperwork that they received as a result of the arrest, such as tickets, bond slips, a notice of summary suspension, or a warning to motorists. I am often able to find useful information in those types of documents. For example, I might learn that the police officer wrote two different court dates on the bond slip and ticket, which would allow us to avoid missing the real court date and having a warrant issued. As another example, I might notice that there was a two-hour delay between the arrest and the Breathalyzer test, which could be a significant detail in a case. Sometimes, the bail bond receipt will have helpful information, such as if the case is charged as a possession or possession with intent to deliver.

How Often Will I Meet With You During My Court Case? Will I Be Receiving Regular Updates?

In most cases, a client will meet with me once I have received new discovery or evidence, which is what I initially focus on and how I evaluate cases. Discovery or evidence is usually tendered in court, but sometimes it’s mailed to me between court dates. If I receive the material in the mail, I will generally contact my client and let them know that there is new information to discuss. Sometimes the prosecutors don’t provide any new information between court dates, and if that is the case, then I’d be happy to meet my clients if they have any questions. In addition, I am always available over the phone to give updates or answer questions.

For more information on Initial Phone Call With An Attorney, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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