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You have been charged with a crime and have hired your criminal defense attorney to help you with navigating the court system and ensuring you get the best help possible. While your attorney can help you with all the legal information, here are some tips for ways to help yourself with building a stronger case for both yourself and that also helps your attorney too. After all, this is a partnership and you need to support each other.

As a defendant, do not just sit back and wallow in your legal grief. Be proactive in finding out information and gather resources that help with pulling it all together.

Make a List of Questions

            After hiring your attorney, you may feel anxious and have a lot of questions about what will happen. Rather than calling or emailing your attorney every time a question comes up, write questions down in a journal as part of a list. Unless it is an urgent question, hang on to it for now. After compiling a few pages of questions, enter them into a table in a Word document or even an Excel spreadsheet, and gather same-category or themed questions into groups.

Before meeting with your attorney, research your questions on the internet by inserting the question into Google’s URL address box at the top of your browser page. While you will never be as knowledgeable as your attorney, you do educate yourself further by studying the information you find, which will help you communicate better with your attorney. During research, you may also come up with new questions that you did not know to ask about.

Resources for You

California Penal Code App

            Did you know that there is a phone application (app) for the California Penal Code? You may find this handy to look through those codes that relate to what you are being charged with. Check your phone’s app store for California Penal Code 2018. For now, this is the most current version available that you can use until the new or revised laws are instituted.

            Another app you might be interested in is the California Crime Finder Pro which lists the penal codes, the type of offense, whether it is a felony, misdemeanor, or a wobbler, and the penalties. There is even a custody credits calculator for time spent in jail.

Transcription and Video Apps

            If you have recordings that will be used as evidence, you can check for an app that transcribes from voice to text output. Make sure that any app you download, has a rating of 4.0 and higher. You want a quality transcription because it will become part of the documentation. Another choice is to use a business that offers professional transcription services. Find out prices and turn-around time.

Once you have the transcription, go through that document with the recording running in the background, and ensure that all the text is there. Fix any mistakes you find. Never edit the text to be something other than what is in the recording. If you do, you could be accused of falsifying evidence. Make duplicates of recordings and transcriptions and keep the originals in a safe place.

If you have videos, have a professional video/photo editor pull out still shots that may be used for evidence. The stills should be as clear as possible and exactly match the video frame it was taken from.

Give a copy of the recording(s), the transcription(s), the video(s), and the still shots to your attorney for his or her records, along with a note saying what is included in your packet. You have just saved yourself money that your attorney would have charged you, and your attorney saves time and money, too, that is better spent working on your case.

If you have been charged with a crime, call us at once for a consultation. (619) 234-2300

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. Prior to that, he was employed as the senior associate attorney for a large criminal defense firm in San Diego for nine years, eventually being placed in charge of that firm’s branch office in downtown San Diego. At one point, he was managing six attorneys at that firm, as well as several support staff and law clerks.

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