DO NOT talk to anyone about your matter before communicating with an attorney. There are times where communication is the best way forward, but that decision should be made with the advice of counsel. If you wish to remain silent the most important thing to do is REMAIN SILENT – DO NOT TALK. If you do not wish to speak, you must invoke your right to counsel by saying something like, “I do not want to answer any questions without speaking to my attorney first.” You have to be clear, if you are not clear, say it over and over again until you get it right – and do not say anything else – REMAIN SILENT.
INTERVIEW: The initial interview is a two-way street. The potential client is interviewing our attorney to determine if he/she is the best person to represent their interests in thier criminal defense / legal matter, and our attorney is interviewing the potential client to make sure we can provide the kind of assistance and representation necessary to achieve the best outcome possible. We are not the right law firm or attorney for every case, and we cannot represent every client that needs help in the criminal justice system in Louisiana.
FEES: Often times the determining factor is financial resources and the cost of defense. This is an unfortunate reality of running a private criminal defense practice. We must charge our clients a fee commensurate with the level of difficulty of the representation in terms of hours, complexity, costs, experts (if necessary), etc… Generally we charge flat fees in our criminal practice. We determine that flat fee by doing our best to estimate the total number of hours required to achieve an outcome multiplied by our hourly rate. We also regularly charge for the distinct phases of criminal defense representation, charging separate fees for pre-arrest, pre-trial, and trial representation. This is done in an effort to not charge for work not expected to be performed and to lesson the financial burden on hiring our firm.
LAW: If it is known, or obvious, what the criminal charges are in the matter there will be an examination of the elements of the crime and the possible consequences; or a discussion about possible criminal liability from a set of facts. This is an important step in the process and necessary so everyone understands the seriousness of the matter and have context for the discussion of the facts. The discussion of the law does not stop with an examination of the law itself, but rather is the foundation upon which everything else is discussed.
FACTS: This is the most difficult part of any discussion of possible criminal liability – including often having family/friends/advisors leave the room to the prospective client and the attorney. The privilege that exists between attorney and client does not extend to others, generally, and this part of an interview is often one-on-one. It is essential that prospective clients be honest and forthcoming with information in this part of the interview. There are few things more detrimental to the defense of a client than not having the full information and/or misrepresentations – this kind of thing can only hurt one person, the client. Again, this can be difficult, but it is very important. We are here to understand and advise, not to judge. Our purpose is to guide you through the process and help you to achieve the best possible outcome by being your advocate – you must arm us with the information necessary to achieve that goal.
This part of the process includes bringing with you any and all documents and/or tangible objects, other than weapons, having to do with your criminal matter. I constantly tell clients that information is the fuel of criminal defense, the more I have the better I will be at fighting for the best outcome possible. In fact, bring too much stuff, you can always take it home if its not needed.
This also includes an examination of the version of events being offered against you or for you by alleged victims, witnesses and/or law enforcement. There are times where we will have extensive information of this kind at an initial interview and times where this information will not be available until much further into the representation. It is also important to note that the version of events the the client remembers, or knows to be true, is often not the version of events we get from alleged victims, witnesses and law enforcement.
LAW & FACTS: This is the lawyer part of the interview. We are here to give you an honest appraisal of the criminal matter you face. In combination with the elements of the possible crimes applicable, we will talk about the difficulty/ease of proving the case from a prosecutor’s perspective, and about the difficulty/ease of forcing the prosecution to bear the burden of proving the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Our attorneys are not interviewing you to tell you everything will be ‘okay’. Quite the contrary, we are here to honestly inform you of the risk and possible consequences. It is our duty to tell you the truth and to interpret the law and facts in a honest and straightforward manner. That is what you will get from us, everytime.
HISTORY: In this part of the interview we will cover the important information related to your history – criminal, medical, family, education, work, interests, etc… Again, information is power, and giving us all the information you have is the best way forward. We will determine what is applicable to the particular matter at hand.
DEFENSE: This is who we are – we are criminal defense attorneys. Along with the honest appraisal above, we will examine the possible defenses in your matter. We will explain the process and a way forward, and do our best to prepare you for the difficulty ahead. The State and/or Government is a powerful and formidable foe. We will treat them as such at every moment. Our duty is always to represent your best interests in an honorable and ethical manner and to bring the fight on your behalf. We will bring our extensive experience and skill to bear in the most effective and efficient manner possible, and work with you to get through this difficult time. I don’t believe in being unnecessarily adversarial, I will not fight just to fight. On the other hand, when it is time to fight, I will go to war for you, without mercy, period.
Our trial attorney, Jarrett Ambeau, believes he is living the purpose of his life in defending people in these kinds of matters, while fighting for the Constitution of the United States and the State of Louisiana. We here at the Ambeau Law Firm believe we are on the front lines of the fight for freedom and liberty, and holding the state accountable to its burden before depriving any citizen of these essential rights.
IMPORTANT: This is not legal advice. I have provided this in an effort to inform you of what to expect, not to advise you on a course of action. Please consult with an attorney before making any decision that may affect your legal rights, liberty, freedom, or safety.