What will the police think if I hire an attorney?
The belief that it will “look bad” if you hire a lawyer is a dangerous misconception and one that can result in criminal charges that were otherwise avoidable.
Hiring a Lawyer Makes You Look Smart to Law Enforcement, Not Guilty
“Does it look bad if I hire a criminal defense lawyer?” In the words of Saul Goodman, “actually, it’s getting arrested that makes people look guilty, even the innocent ones. And innocent people get arrested every day.” When local, state, and federal police investigate a lawyer, doctor, business leader, college professor, or a powerful politician, they fully expect that the person will immediately retain a respected and influential lawyer. They expect a responsible person to hire an attorney even if the allegations are false or untruthful. They understand a person under investigation will hire a lawyer if they are intelligent, responsible, and interested in ensuring their rights are fully protected.
If the police are talking to you or investigating an allegation regarding you, they probably already think you are guilty. Law enforcement officers play various games during an investigation. These investigative techniques include making the suspect falsely feel they are not a target of the investigation.
Protecting you is not about making you “look good” or “look bad”; it is about doing what is necessary to help you avoid charges, if possible. It is critically important to take measures to prevent criminal charges if possible. Your best hope of avoiding charges is to hire a criminal defense lawyer as early in the process as possible.
Prosecutors Determine Charges Based on Evidence, Not Looks
A prosecutor will not file charges unless there is evidence. Evidence can be tainted, misinterpreted, or inaccurate, but some evidence is required before a charge will go to court. One thing that cannot and will not determine if there are criminal charges is how a person “looks” or if they “look bad.” For a person under investigation, the hope is that the police and prosecution will not file criminal charges in court. Any concern regarding how they feel about that person is not consequential in the grand scheme of things. A criminal defense attorney with a track record of helping clients avoid charges will know how to take any available measures to stop criminal charges. Put simply, how a person “looks” is not evidence.
Suspects who fail to hire counsel will invariably and inadvertently assist the government in obtaining evidence that results in charges. Law enforcement can misinterpret a statement, gesture, or look of the eyes as incriminating evidence. Think about it, when an officer is trying and hoping to hear or see something to build a case, it is easy to misconstrue a remark or someone’s body language. For example, if a person is nervous talking to the police and is trembling, sweating, or avoiding eye contact, these human and innocent responses can be viewed as a consciousness of guilt. Perceived consciousness of guilt is demonstrated by circumstantial evidence and can result in felony or misdemeanor charges. Hiring an attorney demonstrates that you mean business and that you will stand up to false accusations or illegally obtained information. If you wonder if you will look bad if you hire a criminal defense lawyer, you must understand that it will actually make you look wise, intelligent, and responsible.
You must not speak to the police.
You cannot advocate for yourself because anything you say “can and will be used against you.” Your attorney can speak on your behalf without the danger of a police officer claiming you incriminated yourself with words, actions, mannerisms, or something else. Police use tactics that have been developed by expert interrogators and psychologists to trick people into talking. Police regularly make false representations, such as that they are just trying to clear things up, that they consider you a witness and not a suspect, that they “just want to help,” that they will not arrest you, or that if you stay silent, it looks suspicious. The most disingenuous claim made by the police is that you would talk with them if you are innocent. They know they’re lying when they make such statements; however, their training teaches them to say things along these lines to get incriminating evidence. It looks bad if you fail to hire a criminal defense lawyer and talk with the police without protecting yourself. The police will be more likely to try and trick or manipulate someone who appears misinformed and cavalier about criminal allegations. If a person does not hire qualified legal representation, law enforcement officers will see them as perfect candidates for trickery and devious police tactics.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution exists for an essential reason. No one should be forced to be a witness against himself, and a person’s silence is not evidence. Innocent people are charged with crimes all the time, and this is an indisputable fact. Police are searching for evidence, not the truth. They are on a mission to solve a crime and file charges, not achieve justice. As previously stated, the police can see the slightest innocent nervous reaction or imperfect response to a question as incriminating. Literally, 100% of police and prosecutors would tell their family members, who were under investigation, to invoke their right to remain silent and not speak to the police. A police officer would tell you that it looks bad to hire a criminal defense lawyer when you are a suspect and they are looking to build a case against you.
The Advantages of Pre-Charge Representation by a Criminal Defense Lawyer
An attorney who is adept at pre-charge representation can help a client in a multitude of ways. In addition to shielding the client from over-zealous investigators, the attorney can:
- find and preserve favorable evidence,
- consider and coordinate polygraph examinations,
- hire investigators to interview helpful witnesses,
- advocate the client’s innocence or mitigating information to police and prosecutors,
- present mitigating information that is unknown to law enforcement,
- establish a strong defense and make it clear that the client is innocent,
- negotiate to reduce the seriousness or number of impending charges,
- recommend therapy or other support for the client that will eventually help the attorney to secure a future, favorable plea bargain or sentence,
- facilitate a low or personal bond,
- arrange for the client to surrender on a warrant, as opposed to being arrested, and
- the possibility of turning things around and pressing charges against someone who made false allegations against you.
A trained and seasoned lawyer will know how to make all the right moves to protect and defend the client, avoid charges, or lessen the seriousness of unavoidable felony or misdemeanor charges. Hiring a respected and known attorney will ensure that the client looks intelligent, responsible, and serious about their defense. If you do not hire a lawyer, you might be charged with a crime that you did not commit. If you did commit a crime, failing to hire an experienced lawyer can result in overly severe charges that were avoidable.
Avoid Charges – Hire a Top Lawyer Immediately
The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has an unparalleled track record of helping clients, who are under investigation, avoid felony and misdemeanor charges. We know every tactic to protect our clients and shield them from prosecution, when possible. If charges are unavoidable, we will work quickly to lessen the severity of the charges filed in court. Finally, we will negotiate with the police to prevent your arrest and arrange for an opportunity for you to self-surrender in court without being taken into custody in front of family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.