Being arrested or charged with a crime takes an emotional toll and presents many challenges. Despite the overwhelming nature of this moment, it is important to take action quickly. Working to find a defense attorney should be your first action if you have been, or feel that you will be, charged with a crime.
First, a criminal defense lawyer understands the complicated and often confusing legal process associated with arrests and criminal charges. This proves critical in several ways. Primarily, a defense lawyer will help you understand the legal process, providing some peace of mind and some predictability. Secondly, they will know whether negotiating with a prosecutor or talking with law enforcement is possible and appropriate in your specific situation. This expertise will prove invaluable as you move forward through the process.
Most legal professionals recommend seeking a defense attorney as soon as possible as the outcome of a case can very often depend on early representation. If possible, rather than waiting for formal charges to be filed, seek representation as soon as possible after learning that you are under investigation for a crime or immediately after arrest.
Even if you have already been charged, hiring an attorney quickly is important.
After an arrest, those charged typically wish to explain their side of the story to the police. Remember that anything said to the police may be used as evidence in court so you should consult with a lawyer before making any statement. After all, a statement may seem harmless to you, but can turn out to be harmful to your case in court. An experienced lawyer will know exactly how, and whether, to communicate with law enforcement and the prosecution.
Lastly, contacting a criminal defense attorney early allows your lawyer to begin building your case more thoroughly from the start. Most of the time, lawyers assemble an investigative team to gather as much helpful evidence as possible for your case. Investigating early provides more evidence to work with later.
Your defense attorney will also want to develop a legal strategy for your case. The more time you have on your side, the better that strategy can be. A well-developed legal strategy can prove invaluable to your case. When the outcome of a case has high stakes attached, don’t ignore the value of hiring an experienced defense attorney as early as possible.