If you have been arrested, it is important to get immediate legal counsel, no matter how small the charges. A lawyer will help represent you in court and explain complicated technical and legal terms to you.
You Have a Right to Legal Advice and Representation
- Not just one phone call as you may have seen on TV.
- The right to a private call or as many calls as needed to find appropriate legal counsel.
- If you do not have or know a lawyer the police have to provide you with a list of lawyers, their work and home phone numbers. (These will all be reputable lawyers who accept legal aid.
- If you have a lawyer who is not accessible at that time, a 1-800 number is also provided and will put you in touch with the “duty lawyer” of the day. They will be able to answer your questions and give general advice.
- There is never any charge for this initial contact with a lawyer. (Depending on the charges against you, it may in fact only be a quick five minute conversation to find out your next step.)
- Lawyers are required to provide potential clients with a half hour free consultation for initial meetings and discussion.
- The lawyer you make first contact with does not have to be the lawyer you retain for the court proceeding. Find one you are comfortable with.
Trial by Court
- It is important to be completely honest with your attorney and to provide them with as many details as possible, including past events. As soon as you can, write down everything you remember so important details are not forgotten.
- A lawyer will speak with the police or district attorney (if involved) to get details and information on special circumstances.
- Your lawyer will put into plain English the legal and technical terms that are part of the law, and give the best advice on how to proceed.