My clients ask me what they should do after they are arrested and bonded out. The next step is the initial hearing. This is where they are brought before the court and the formal charges filed against them are read. The court will set a few hearing dates.
This post deals with how to prepare your case after you are arrested or summoned to court. The short answer is start preparing your case.
- Write down all that you remember about the arrest or incident. How did the police contact you, did they pull you over, did they grab you when you were on the street, did they knock at your door? I ask this to see why the arrest occurred and to determine if your rights were violated.
- Who was with you when the police arrived? Obtain names, addresses, phone numbers and even email addresses of all involved. Phone numbers and addresses change, but most people keep their email addresses.
- I would ask those who were there what happened. They should either write it down or make a video of what happened. It is preferable for them to do this on their own so as to note be prodded by you or anyone else. Save the video or their statements so that you will have it later if needed. It is not uncommon for a case to last months or years, and most people tend to forget details or remember incorrectly as time passes. Police make written notes so they don’t forget. You should too.
- If you need to and are able to do so, take photos of the area of the arrest and where the incident occurred. Save any documents you may have related to the incident. An attorney would request discovery from the Prosecutor and the police officers.
- Collect and save all this material as it will be needed to build your defense. You want to tell your side of the events if and when you have to go to court.
- You can also summon people to court or to a deposition. A deposition is a formal, usually written, statement to be used as evidence by people outside the court who are under oath to tell the truth.
- The last step is to prepare your side of defense for a trial if needed. If the evidence you collect is favorable to your side, you may be able to persuade the prosecutor. If not, you must be ready to tell the jury or Judge what happened.
The elements listed above are absolutely necessary for you to prepare the best defense possible for your case.
I cannot emphasize enough that proceeding alone and representing yourself in a criminal hearing is something I strongly advise against.
To seek consultation on your criminal matter, call me. My office number is 812‐652‐2013.
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