Here are links to FAQ (Frequently asked questions) about our law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, The Ohio Family Law Blog, Divorce, Custody, Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate, Traffic, Criminal, DUI, OVI, Auto Accident, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Court appearances and emergency 24 hour assistance.
The firm conducts a diversified general practice with particular emphasis on probate administration, estate planning, divorce and family law, juvenile law, personal injury and business planning. In addition, we assist clients in criminal, traffic and DUI/OVI cases, medical and psychological malpractice matters, wrongful death matters and appellate court litigation.
Our office is located at 1105 Wilmington Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45420. Our phone number is 937-293-2141. We are located south of downtown Dayton on Wilmington Avenue near the intersection of Patterson Road and very close to Oakwood, Kettering and Beavercreek. Click here for driving directions.
All our lawyers are well credentialed, experienced and highly rated in their respective areas of practice. We are rated at the very TOP by both of the national prominent independent lawyer rating services. Robert Mues has received the Preeminent AV Designation® from Martindale-Hubbell® since 2002. This class is an elite group of less than 10% of lawyers in the country. Martindale-Hubbell® evaluates both ethical standards and legal abilities. In addition, Mr. Mues has received a perfect 10 score and rated “Superb” by AVVO® as a top divorce and family law litigator. Mr. Mues has continuously published the highly acclaimed Ohio Family Law Blog since 2007. Since 2006, Attorney Joseph Balmer has been certified as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts, and Probate Administration by the Ohio State Bar Association. While all our attorneys are exceptionally well respected in the legal community and highly qualified, they are also very approachable.
Our rates vary depending upon the nature of the legal matter and the complexity of the case. Generally, we charge an hourly rate. There are two (2) broad exceptions: first, for personal injury, auto accident, wrongful death and medical malpractice actions, we charge a contingency fee. This means that we earn our fee from a percentage of the recovery. If there’s no recovery, we do not earn a fee. The second exception is we typically charge a flat rate for basic estate planning documents including a Last Will and Testament, general business Power of Attorney, Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney. Upon calling our office, we can give you a better indication of whether a retainer would be required as well as the approximate fees involved in handling your legal matter.
Absolutely. Our conversations are protected by the attorney/client privilege. The attorneys and staff are bound to protect the confidentiality of the conversations and information provided to our law firm.
We accept debit cards, credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express), personal checks, and of course, cash. On some types of cases, installment payment plans may be available. Please inquire.
Our general office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Weekend and evening appointments are available. In case of an emergency after hours, call our 24 hour emergency line and you will be connected directly to an attorney. That number is 937-760-4357 (or 937-760-HELP).
Yes, please call our 24 hour emergency phone number at 937-760-4357 (or 937-760-HELP).
In some areas we do. If you are coming to consult with us regarding estate planning, administering an estate, a criminal, traffic or DUI/OVI matter, a personal injury, auto accident, wrongful death or medical malpractice matter, there is no charge for the initial consultation. For other areas, including divorce, custody, family law, juvenile law, business, civil litigation, or real estate, there is a discounted fee for the initial consultation. For more details, please call us.
Our lawyers do visit clients or potential clients at their home, in the hospital, nursing homes or other locations as may be convenient. If this is a concern, call us and we will try to accommodate you.
An excellent question! Robert L. Mues, the managing partner of Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, has written a two-part article on that topic which has been posted to his Ohio Family Law Blog. To read it, click here.
Yes, we strive to provide exemplary legal services to all our clients regardless of their sex. Our representation is not biased towards one gender. Divorce and family law cases are all different and unique depending upon the blend of issues and facts. Our firm is very attuned to try to assist our clients with both the legal and emotional side of a divorce case. The firm has adopted the American Bar Association’s Standards for family law practitioners. Click here to see. If you have not taken the opportunity to look at the Ohio Family Law Blog, which we publish, it contains an extensive amount of information that may be helpful to your issues.
Yes, this is a very common question and we regularly meet with clients in this situation to try to give them a better understanding of the legal implications of their circumstances. In addition, if you’ve not already done so, please take a look at the Ohio Family Law Blog, which we publish. It contains an extensive amount of information that may be helpful to your issues.
Our family law lawyers are well seasoned and experienced. Robert L. Mues, the managing partner of HCM&M, has over 30 years experience with family law matters. Mr. Mues is the publisher of the Ohio Family Law Blog. Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for ethical standards and legal ability. Our goal as family law attorneys is to take a holistic view of our clients’ needs and develop a multi-disciplinary plan to meet those needs. We have forged strong relationships with professionals from other disciplines including accountants, mental health counselors, social workers and financial planners. Utilizing this approach we are often able to help our family law clients avoid unnecessary emotional distress. To learn more about family law issues in Ohio, click here to be taken to the Ohio Family Law Blog.
Individuals facing the possibility of a divorce often have a strong desire to obtain helpful information to assess their specific circumstances and to better understand their situation. In order to help meet this need, Robert L. Mues launched the Ohio Family Law Blog in 2007. The mission of the blog is to provide the public a wealth of important information regarding family law issues with a focus on the law in Ohio. This blog is the first and only family law blog in the State of Ohio and continues to be well received, with articles having been quoted in various other divorce and family law blogs throughout the United States. In addition, Mr. Mues has discussed family law issues arising from his blog on National Public Radio. To jump over to the Ohio Family Law Blog, click here. Not only will the blog provide valuable information, it will give you an opportunity to appreciate the professionalism and philosophy of the family law practitioners at HCM&M.
Yes. The American Bar Association Section of Family Law has adopted standards setting forth the manner in which counsel should treat their clients, opposing counsel as well as the court. Our family law attorneys have adopted and continue to practice those standards every day. To read the American Bar Association Section of Family Law Civility Standards, please click here.
Virtually everyone over age 18 should have a will. It assures that, upon your death, your property will be distributed as you wish. It also assures that a responsible individual of your choosing will be in charge of settling your estate, paying any debts that you may have, and distributing the balance to whom you choose. It also allows you the opportunity to declare who you wish to act as a guardian to care for your children.
A general durable power of attorney, sometimes referred to as a business or financial power of attorney, appoints an individual to carry out your financial and legal affairs if, during your lifetime, you are unable or do not wish to handle them yourself.
A durable power of attorney for health care is a document appointing an individual to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so in the future.
Yes, most definitely. Certain assets, although taxable for estate tax purposes, are not subject to probate administration. Assets with payable on death or transfer on death beneficiary designations are transferred directly to those individuals and do not require the assistance of an executor. We can help most people implement an estate plan that avoids probate administration.
A living will is a document that declares your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment if you are ever terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
All assets owned by an individual at death or to which the individual has control at death are subject to federal and Ohio estate taxes. All assets passing to a surviving spouse are exempt from any estate tax. Those not passing to a surviving spouse are subject to taxation. For the year 2008, the first $2,000,000 of assets is exempt from federal estate tax and the first $338,000 of assets is exempt from Ohio estate tax. All assets above those amounts are subject to taxation at an amount based upon federal and state tax tables.
A living trust is a document that allows you to pass on your assets to your beneficiaries, at death, outside of the probate process. Depending on the situation, a living trust may save estate taxes but not necessarily. A person may be able to accomplish the same goal without a living trust, by using beneficiary designations on assets or holding them in joint ownership with rights of survivorship. There is no one estate plan that is appropriate for everyone and a trained professional should be consulted when setting up an estate plan
Our firm has over 75 consecutive years of providing estate planning and probate services for our clients, their children, their grandchildren and other family members largely due to their satisfaction with the service and treatment they receive. As indicated above, we offer advice by an estate planning expert, Joe Balmer. Mr. Balmer is one of only 20 such specialists certified by the Ohio State Bar in the Dayton area. Our firm has received the highest rating for both ethical standards and legal ability from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review.
Yes. A trained professional is necessary to ensure that your Will complies with the formal requirements under Ohio law and that your wishes are stated clearly so that they may be properly carried out.
Probate administration is the process of locating a decedent’s assets, paying his or her last expenses and distributing the remaining property in accordance with the decedent’s wishes. The executor appointed in the decedent’s will carries out these duties.
A proper estate plan consists of, at minimum, a last will and testament, a general durable power of attorney and appropriate health care documents. A will eliminates the necessity of the costs of a court-appointed administrator at death as well as other benefits discussed above. Proper power of attorney documents eliminate the necessity of a court-appointed guardian during one’s life. Guardianship proceedings can be both humiliating and costly. A proper estate plan minimizes the risk, time and expenses involved during lifetime and at death and ensures that an individual’s wishes and affairs are carried out properly.
At HCM&M, we gladly visit clients at their homes, local hospitals, nursing homes and other retirement facilities to ensure that they have the estate planning documents necessary when they need them most.
Your estate planning documents should be reviewed any time you have life changes in your family, such as marriage, divorce, birth of children or grandchildren or death of family members. They should also be reviewed upon the death or incapacitation of other intended beneficiaries or those appointed as executor, power of attorney, trustee or guardian. In addition, they should be reviewed every few years to ensure that your wishes have not changed, that there have not been any significant changes in the law and that the federal and Ohio estate tax exemptions have not changed. This is particularly relevant because currently there is a great deal of potential change and uncertainty being discussed by lawmakers with respect to estate taxes on both the federal and state level.
Yes. Twenty attorneys in the Dayton area are currently certified by the Ohio Bar Association as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. Certification requires training in advanced estate planning, trust and probate law courses, numerous positive recommendations by other estate planning, trust and probate law attorneys and a passing grade on a written examination administered by the Ohio State Bar Association.
We are located on Wilmington Avenue and are very close to both Dayton and Kettering Municipal Courts. Our lawyers have spent a considerable time in trial courts, both for misdemeanors and for felonies, as well as in the court of appeals. We spend a significant time in all the courts in Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Miami, Warren and Butler Counties. Additionally, we have traveled beyond those counties on occasion and are available to do so. Please contact our office to discuss the matter more in depth.
This is not true. Many times a person who is not represented will overlook valid defenses. They are not trained to see the issues that the government may have in proving their case. Even if your goal is to plead guilty you should have an attorney there who knows how to negotiate with the Prosecutor so that you receive a fair deal that is in your best interest. The Prosecutor is not looking out for your interest if you attempt this on your own, and he or she will possibly try to scare you into taking a deal that is not the best deal you could get. A trained lawyer will be able to analyze your case and assess it for both strengths and weaknesses. That lawyer will know how to present your strengths in a manner that will ensure your interests are looked after and that you get the best deal possible. It is altogether possible that a trained lawyer will see something that you did not see and help you to win your case.
We offer a free initial consultation. At that consultation we will advise you of the consequences of representing yourself. It is important that you schedule an appointment before your court date, so that if you decide to retain an attorney, he or she will have time to prepare and to file any paperwork on your behalf. We will not pressure you to hire us at this appointment, but it is our opinion that it is always best to have effective representation. We will go over fees and costs and allow you to decide if it is worth retaining us.
Even if you are guilty of the charges, the criminal justice system is set up so that there is a presumption of innocence. The only way that the system works is to make the State or local government prove its case against you. You need effective representation to alert you if there are any defenses available to you. An example could be where the officer improperly stopped you, searched you or your vehicle, arrested you, or obtained statements without a valid constitutional waiver.
Even if you do not wish to contest the charges, you should still have representation so that you can attempt to negotiate the best type of deal. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of spending time in jail, reduce the sentence if you are sentenced, reduce your fines that you will be obligated to pay; and it will also help protect your rights down the road. A guilty plea can have many unforeseen consequences even after the matter is completed. A lawyer’s job is to advise you of those consequences so that you can make an informed decision.
We offer a free initial consultation on all traffic or criminal matters. You should feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment as early as possible; and if it is an emergency and it is after the office is closed, you should contact the emergency number. This number is (937) 760-4357 (HELP).
You should never go into court without a DUI/OVI Lawyer. The Prosecutor will represent the State and the Judge is not there to represent your interests. A DUI/OVI is a serious offense that can have major consequences. These consequences could include a fine, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time. You should have someone on your side to represent you. A good DUI/OVI Attorney can help you to spot any defenses that you may have, assist in negotiating a favorable plea, and work to protect you from negative consequences that may arise after the matter is finished. It is too common where someone goes in to represent himself or herself and they either fail to raise a defense that could have won their case or they fail to achieve the best deal that they could have gotten had they been represented. This leads to financial loss as well as other significant penalties.
Many attorneys advertise that they handle all kinds of cases including everything from Bankruptcy to Criminal to Landlord/Tenant to Personal Injury to DUI/OVI cases. But buyer beware! Those are all very unique specialties and require very different skills and experience. Handling a DUI/OVI case in Ohio requires special experience and expertise. Make sure that when you call different law firms to get fee quotes, if a firm does handle different types of cases, make sure that a firm has an experienced DUI/OVI Lawyer who is familiar with all of the area Courts, Judges and police departments like our DUI/OVI Lawyers at Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues. Also, some of the law firms that quote significantly higher fees than other firms will stress that you “get what you pay for” and they imply that the results of your case can almost be guaranteed. Don’t fall into that trap. Make sure that you do call several different Dayton DUI/OVI Lawyers as you shop around for legal assistance with your Ohio DUI/OVI charge.
“DUI” is an acronym for “Driving Under the Influence”. For years, drunk driving was generally referred to by Ohio statutes, courts, and police as DUI, DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), or OMVI (Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence). That changed in January of 2005 when the Ohio General Assembly changed the statute to the wording “Operating a Vehicle under the Influence” or “OVI”. The change in terminology was done to reflect a more accurate description of an offense since someone doesn’t necessarily have to be “driving” or operating a “motor” vehicle to be guilty of OVI. Regardless of what you call it, most people still refer to being pulled over and arrested for drinking and driving as a “DUI”.
Drinking and driving is not necessarily illegal in Ohio. It is illegal to have an open container in your vehicle, so it is illegal to drink while you are driving. It is also illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence. Many of you have heard that it is illegal to have a blood alcohol level of .08. This is considered “per se” under the influence. This does not mean that you cannot be charged if you have a blood alcohol level below .08; the statute allows you to be charged if you are operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is easier to defend a charge if the blood alcohol content is less than .08. It is an elevated DUI if your BAC is over .17. This means that you are subject to increased penalties. Please refer to the Blood Alcohol Calculator on our resources page for an estimate of what your BAC is based on weight and alcohol consumption. This is not an exact BAC level and other factors can influence it, so use your best judgment in determining if you are under the influence before driving. As always exercise good judgment and err on the side of caution.
There is still a presumption of innocence in the State of Ohio, and this does not go away simply because the officer has taken your driver’s license. An officer can take your license, however, under the Ohio Revised Code if you either refuse to take the breath test (assuming it is not a PBT, discussed below), or if you test over the legal limit. This suspension is called an ALS Suspension (Administrative License Suspension). The rationale is that you have given your consent to take these tests when you have obtained your driver’s license. Refusing your consent forfeits your license for a period of time. You do, however, have the right to appeal this suspension. It is time sensitive, so if you decide that you would like to appeal this suspension and/or obtain limited driving privileges during the duration of the suspension, you should consult an attorney promptly.
As soon as the officer approaches your car, he or she may ask you to perform some sobriety tests. These can include a pen test, questions, or other activities that he or she asks you to perform outside of the car. You are not obligated by law to conduct any of these tests. You are required to give the officer your personal information; but if he or she asks you to conduct tests or volunteer any information, you do not have to do so. The tests are generally required to be conducted under very specific circumstances. A failure on the officer’s part to conduct the tests in compliance may impact the results. It is very difficult to prove that the tests were not done in compliance, however, and you should be aware that the officer is the one who is recording the results. This is not to your benefit since it is highly likely that the officer has already made a determination that you are guilty, or else you would not be asked to take these tests. If you decide not to perform these tests you should politely decline and ask to speak with your DUI/OVI Lawyer.
If you are stopped for a possible DUI/OVI in Ohio, there are two instances when you might be given a “breath test” and your refusal to take either one has varying consequences. The first instance that you may be asked to take a breath test is alongside the road after an initial traffic stop. Typically, an officer carries a device in the squad car that will allow him or her to administer a Portable Breath Test (PBT). The test is not mandatory and the results can only be used to determine probable cause and are not admissible in court. There is no reason to consent to the Portable Breath Test.
If you do submit to the PBT and fail, or if you fail some of the field sobriety tests, the officer will most likely arrest you and take you back to the station to perform the second breath test on an approved device. Currently, there are two approved breath-testing devices in Ohio – The BAC Datamaster and the Intoxilyzer 5000. At this point, you will be told you can blow or refuse. If you refuse to blow and be tested, there will be an automatic suspension of your license for a year and it could have other repercussions if you have a CDL. If you choose to blow and are above the Ohio legal limit of .08, you will be charged with a DUI/OVI and booked. More importantly, if you are booked and have blown above .169, you will be charged with a Super DUI. It’s important to assess your own condition at this point.
You may always refuse consent to take any breath test. A main factor should be whether or not you think that you will test over the limit. If you know that you will not, you may wish to comply with the test. This can be advantageous for several reasons. First, as discussed above, your initial suspension will not be as long. Second, you will help your defense if you test under the limit. You will still likely be charged with a DUI/OVI, but your defense becomes easier. If, however, you think there is a chance that you will test over the limit, you should think carefully before deciding whether or not to agree to take the test. A test that is over the limit will make defending your DUI/OVI charge significantly harder. There is also that possibility that you could test into a higher tier offense (Super DUI), which significantly increases your penalties if you are convicted.
In the end, it is your decision but you need to know, in advance, what all of the consequences that your decision could entail. At Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, we maintain a 24-hour Emergency DUI/OVI hotline so that you can reach one of our Dayton DUI/OVI Lawyers whenever you need to, even in the middle of the night. That number is (937) 760-4357.
The penalties vary depending on the level of the offense, and if you have had any prior convictions. The lowest penalty is for a first time offense that is classified as low tier. This means it is below a .17 BAC. The maximum penalty is a fine between $250.00 and $1,000 and at least 3 days in jail up to 180 days in jail. Most area courts allow you to attend a weekend intervention program that typically costs around $300.00 in lieu of spending 3 days in jail. It is entirely possible that you could spend some time in jail, even on a first conviction for a DUI/OVI. Additionally, you will have a driver’s license suspension of between six months and three years. These penalties only increase if the results of your breathalyzer test were so high that they are considered “high-end” or if you have had prior convictions.
A second offense carries a minimum of 10 consecutive days in jail plus a fine between $350.00 to $1500.00, plus court costs. The Court will suspend your license for 1 to 5 years, and you will have to wait at least 30 days to obtain limited driving privileges. It is mandatory that you obtain restricted license plates and if the vehicle you were driving at the time you were cited for DUI/OVI is titled to you, there is a mandatory 90 day immobilization period. If your breathalyzer resulted in a “high-end” test, or you refused and you had previously been convicted of a DUI/OVI in the last 20 years, your mandatory jail time will jump to 20 days.
A third offense carries a minimum of 30 consecutive days in jail and a minimum of $850.00 plus court costs. Your license can be suspended up to 2 years with a waiting period of 6 months for restricted privileges, plus you will be required to have a vehicle disabling device for days 181 to 365 days. Restricted plates are mandatory and if the vehicle you were driving at the time you were cited for DUI/OVI was titled to you, the law states that you must forfeit that vehicle to the State.
A fourth or fifth offense in six years, or a sixth offense in twenty years, qualifies as a Felony DUI. Once you are convicted of a Felony DUI/OVI, any subsequent DUI/OVI charges will be brought as felonies. A Felony DUI/OVI conviction carries mandatory jail or prison sentences, minimum fines of $850.00 plus court costs, mandatory license suspensions of 3 years to life, mandatory restricted license plates, vehicle forfeiture and alcohol treatment programs.
It should be noted that some courts require restricted plates for even first time offenders. Also, some courts require vehicle disabling devices as a condition for limited privileges or as a condition of your bond. Finally, depending on the level of the offense, fines can range from $375.00 up to $2750.00 and a court can issue its own license suspension from 3-10 years.
With so much at stake, it is critical that you retain an experienced and proven Dayton DUI Lawyer as soon as possible once you are charged. You absolutely need to have effective representation to ensure that the chances of you spending time in jail and spending a substantial amount of money on fines and court costs are as low as possible.
The State of Ohio requires all drivers to show proof of financial responsibility, or automobile insurance. An SR-22 Bond is not traditional automobile insurance, but rather a bond or a filing made by an insurance company to the state of Ohio proving you have at least the state minimum required amount of liability insurance. This allows you to legally drive in the State of Ohio. An SR22 bond provides you with the cheapest, least expensive insurance protection allowed by the State of Ohio.
The typical SR22 Bond provides $12,500 bodily injury for any 1 person injured / $25,000 bodily injury per accident when 2 or more people are injured, and $7,500 in property damage liability coverage in the event you are at fault in an accident. It covers you as a driver. An SR22 bond does not cover the car you are driving or the car you own. An SR22 bond will not provide medical coverage for you or anyone else in the vehicle you are driving at the time of the accident. All damages beyond the $32,500 limit (state minimum of liability) are your responsibility.
If you are convicted of DUI/OVI, you may be required to obtain an SR22 Bond to have your license reinstated with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
No. You should not give a statement to an insurance adjuster without having an attorney present. The adjuster is trained in asking questions and in taking information that will minimize their exposure to liability. If possible, they will try to get a story from you that somehow makes you at fault, or somehow minimizes your damages. This statement will be admissible should the matter proceed to trial; and if you were not represented, it is possible that you will make statements that could be damaging at trial.
The first thing you should do is to seek treatment for any injuries that you may have sustained. As soon as you are healthy enough, you should contact an attorney. This is important because there is evidence that needs to be collected and analyzed as soon as possible. There may be evidence at the site that is important to prove that the other driver was at fault. Witnesses are also important to locate as close in time as possible. Additionally, you should know your rights at the earliest possible time because the other side will not wait in trying to collect information from you, and they will not be looking out for your interests when they do so.
The adjuster is not being paid to look out for your interests. It is very important to know that. Their job is to evaluate your claim and try to get rid of the claim for the least amount of money possible. An Attorney is there to look out for your interests. An experienced one will be able to evaluate your claim and to show you what the settlement value is. He or she will be able to advise you about other issues in settling your case such as subrogation issues. Under Ohio law, any doctors, insurance carriers or other parties who have spent money for you related to an accident may have an interest in obtaining proceeds from any settlement you receive, and an insurance adjuster will not work with you on reducing those. An Attorney will make sure that you are prepared to go to trial if you are not being offered a fair deal.
Finally, he or she will also be able to assist you in finalizing your settlement and advising you about tax implications and other things that you need to know about.
We will travel for appointments. It is important that the attorney have as much information about your case as possible before the appointment so that he or she can properly advise you at that appointment. Please call our office and schedule a time to talk with an attorney so that you will know what you can do to prepare and so the attorney also knows what to do to best prepare for the appointment.
We have attorneys who are experienced in every aspect of litigation, from intake to trials and even appeals. We will aggressively represent your interest from the moment that you enter our office and hire us. We offer candid advice so that you can make the decision that is best for you. If you look at our mission statement, you will see that we make it our goal to offer you the best legal services possible. Our lawyers and our staff have experience in making sure that you are well taken care of along each step of the process. It is important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer and the firm you choose because the process can be lengthy and it is not uncommon that you will experience a lot of mixed emotions. The process can be trying, and you need someone who will be there for you.
On most personal injury cases we charge a contingency fee. This means that we are not paid a fee for our time and work until you recover something. If you do not get recovery, then we do not get paid for our time. What this also means is that it is in our interest to obtain the best recovery for you that we can, and that we will not try to quickly settle your case for less than it is worth.
We do offer a free initial consultation on these types of cases. We ask that you bring all your documents, records, pictures, or anything else that you have relating to the case at that time. Please call our office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible as it is important that you do not wait to get started. Your claim may be time sensitive, and it is extremely important to begin collecting evidence, witness statements and other things at an early stage.