Familiarizing yourself with questions a defense attorney might ask a client in an armed robbery charge can help you prepare for the initial consultation and provide information that might help your attorney build a strong defense.
A defense attorney will commence an initial interview with a client facing an armed robbery charge by asking about the client’s background. The attorney will ask the client about the arrest, search and seizure, and questioning. The attorney will ask the client for any information about the alleged victim and the relationship the client has with the alleged victim if any. Questions about potential witnesses and evidence in the client’s possession will also be part of the initial client interview.
Questions a Defense Attorney Might Ask a Client in an Armed Robbery Charge
Before offering guidance and to help build a defense against the charges you face, your defense attorney will likely want to talk with you. During this meeting, whether in-person, over the phone, or virtual, a legal representative will ask you questions to get to know you better and to understand important details about your case.
Can you tell me more about your background?
A criminal defense attorney typically begins an initial interview by asking simple background information questions to help you relax. These questions usually touch on your name, date of birth, contact details, family relationships, work history, and employment history.
The attorney will proceed to ask more specific background information questions once you feel comfortable talking about the details of your case. These questions might be about your current medical needs, health (both physical and mental), and family history. The defense attorney will use the information obtained to complete a client information sheet.
Defense attorneys ask background information questions for a variety of reasons. First, it helps them get to know more about you and cultivate a professional attorney-client relationship. Second, your identifying information is necessary when obtaining records and documentation from hospitals and law enforcement agencies.
Your attorney will also need your identifying information to check your communication abilities and determine how effective you might be on the stand.
What is your history with the criminal justice system?
Inform your attorney of any previous arrest or conviction on your record. Feel free to share with your attorney any form of history you have with the criminal justice system. Exercising transparency when dealing with your defense attorney may improve your chances of obtaining a successful outcome from your case.
Your criminal record may affect the prosecution’s willingness to offer a favorable plea deal. It will also generally affect the type and severity of sentences issued by the court. Your attorney will know what to expect and plan accordingly if the attorney knows your criminal history.
Why are you facing an armed robbery charge?
Your defense attorney needs to know as many details about your case as possible. You need to tell your story to the attorney, even if you are still shocked by the dramatic turn of events. Carefully walk your attorney through your account of what happened from the beginning to the end.
Let your attorney know if you think someone else was responsible for the crime, and provide details of the suspect. Inform your attorney if you have no idea what transpired or if you were at a different location when the alleged armed robbery happened. Be honest with your attorney about where you were and if you have any evidence or witnesses to support your alibi.
What can you tell me about the arrest?
Your defense attorney will require as much information about your arrest as possible, especially if police officers arrested you for armed robbery. The arrest details you should give your attorney include the arrest date, time, and location, the name of the arresting officer, and the reason provided for the arrest. Also, tell your attorney whether the arresting officer had an arrest warrant and the names of individuals who witnessed the arrest.
Your defense attorney asks you about your arrest to determine whether the arresting officer violated your rights. Getting assaulted or forced to disclose incriminating information during an arresting amount to a violation of your constitutional rights.
Your attorney would fight to have anything you said during the arrest excluded from the evidence if the arresting officer violated constitutional rights. So, feel free to share any information about the arrest you think might help your case.
What can you tell me about the search and seizure?
A defense attorney will ask for information about any search conducted by police officers on you, your car, or your house. Some of the search details a defense attorney may find helpful in building your case include:
- The date, time, and location of the search
- The name of the officer who performed the search
- A description of how the officer performed the search
- Whether the officer had a search warrant
- The reason provided for the search
The attorney will also ask for details of any items seized during the search. Your attorney will need you to describe the items seized and provide the seizure locations.
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures. Police officers must obtain a valid warrant before performing any search or seizure. A criminal lawyer in Minneapolis can bring a motion to suppress all evidence collected in an illegal search or seizure. If granted, the judge will bar the prosecution from using the evidence in question against you at trial.
Have you discussed the details of your case or investigation with anyone?
A St. Paul’s robbery lawyer will want to know if you have talked to anyone about your case or investigation. Be honest. Let your attorney know if you spoke to anyone about what happened or made any statements implying you are guilty of the armed robbery.
Informing your attorney about your conversations with a third party that might hurt your case is crucial for various reasons. The first is that it allows the attorney to create a defense strategy that can address any issues that might arise in the future. The other reason is that it helps the attorney determine who might testify against you.
Your defense attorney will strongly advise you against sharing the facts of your armed robbery case or investigation with anyone. Do not speak about your case with a police officer, no matter how friendly the officer seems. Instead, politely tell the officer that you will answer any questions when your attorney is present.
Avoid discussing your armed robbery case with cellmates while in custody. These individuals might be helping the police with the investigation to secure a favorable deal for themselves. Also, resist the urge to disclose sensitive information about your case to your family, friends, or workmates. Politely tell them that your attorney advised you against discussing the details of your case.
What do you know about the alleged victim?
A defense attorney will ask you what you know about the alleged victim. The attorney will also want to know if you have any relationship with the alleged victim. Even simple biographical information, including the alleged victim’s name and physical address, can be helpful to your attorney.
Your defense attorney can reach out to the alleged victim in your armed robbery case. A meeting with the alleged victim helps your attorney gather more information about the case. It helps the attorney determine if the alleged victim’s current claims correspond to the contents of the police report.
The meeting allows your attorney to study how the alleged victim narrates his or her account in person. That way, the attorney can gauge the victim’s credibility and prepare adequately for his or her testimony in court.
Who may be possible witnesses for and against you?
Tell your attorney about anyone who might have been present at the alleged crime scene. It could be your friends, neighbors, or bystanders. Be sure to provide physical descriptions and other helpful information about people that might have witnessed the incident but are not personally known to you. These individuals could corroborate your side of the story. Your attorney will try to reach out to them before the prosecution does.
Even if potential witnesses are against you, the defense attorney will get a chance to find out what negative information they might have about you. The attorney will then gather evidence and prepare issue-based arguments to poke holes into their testimony.
What evidence is in your possession?
Evidence will play a crucial role in your case. The prosecutor will need compelling evidence to prove that you committed the crime. Your attorney will require strong evidence to show that you did not commit the alleged crime.
Inform your attorney of any evidence you have that might support your story. The same rule applies even if you have incriminating evidence. The attorney will build a defense and advise you on what to do, and what not to do, to avoid implicating yourself.
Are you satisfied with my rates?
Your defense attorney asks this question to determine if you are comfortable with the cost of his or her legal services. You may disclose your financial situation to the attorney and discuss the firm’s fee schedule and payment options.
Reviewing What the Case Is About
If you are under investigation or already facing an armed robbery charge, you might wonder, “what does a criminal defense attorney do?” After the initial interview, your defense attorney opens an investigation into the charges you are facing and reviews available evidence to determine what your case entails. The attorney starts by obtaining police reports, pictures, videos, witness statements, lab test results, and other forms of evidence applicable to your case.
The attorney then evaluates the charging document to determine the charge you are facing. Minnesota categorizes all forms of robbery as a felony. Your armed robbery charge could be a first-degree or second-degree aggravated robbery.
The charging document must outline how the alleged criminal defendant committed the crime and specific elements of the offense. Your attorney will analyze the contents of your charging document against the police report, your statements, and other forms of evidence relevant to your case to identify any inconsistencies.
Satisfying the Burden of Proof
After determining the level of your armed robbery charge, your attorney will evaluate all the available evidence to establish if the prosecution can satisfy its burden of proof in a bench or jury trial. Minnesota criminal law requires the prosecution to prove all the specific elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
You might secure a dismissal of your charge or a not-guilty verdict if the prosecution cannot prove even just one of the elements of the offense. A knowledgeable and persuasive criminal defense attorney can capitalize on this fact. The attorney can weaken the prosecution’s evidence by questioning the credibility of the evidence and witnesses presented by the prosecution side.
Your attorney can initiate a plea negotiation with the prosecution on your behalf. The attorney will ensure you are involved in every step of the negotiation process. A plea agreement can remove some charges leveled against you or minimize the severity of the potential sentence.
Your defense attorney will discuss the possible penalties you might face if you are convicted. The attorney will then advise you on the best course of action. Sometimes, taking a plea offer from the prosecution is the best decision. Other times, it is better to fight the charges in court.
Using your answers to the questions a defense attorney might ask a client in an armed robbery charge, your attorney will represent you in the courtroom. He or she will advocate for you in the jury selection process, challenge inappropriate evidence and testimony, and question the prosecution’s witness. The attorney will also present your evidence-supported defense to the judge in a bench trial or jury in a jury trial.