Pre-Charge Legal Representation
Should a person hire a lawyer if he or she is only under investigation for a criminal offense, and there are no charges?
An Attorney Might Be Able to Prevent Criminal Charges
Once a person learns that the police are investigating a crime and he or she is a suspect, it is critical to get an experienced criminal defense lawyer involved as early as possible for pre-charge legal representation for a felony or misdemeanor. A criminal defense attorney can often intervene with law enforcement. The early intervention by an experienced criminal lawyer may prevent an arrest and criminal charges. In cases where an arrest is imminent, an attorney can arrange for their client to surrender without an arrest or may be able to convince law enforcement to pursue less severe charges. Additionally, defendants represented by retained counsel at arraignment are frequently granted a lower bond.
Hiring a proficient attorney in a timely fashion will protect you from being questioned by the police. In almost all cases where suspects are unrepresented, the police obtain evidence through questioning the suspect. You’ve heard on television, “whatever you say can and will be used against you.” Notice the warning does not say “might be used against you.” A good lawyer will know how to protect their client from a police interrogation designed to elicit inculpatory evidence. It is essential that you keep in mind that law enforcement officers are building a case and will strive to get evidence that will help them bring charges.
Some Defendants are Overcharged, and Innocent People Can be Wrongfully Convicted
Law enforcement accuses innocent people of committing crimes more often than you think. The news regularly reports about individuals who are released from prison after some extended period because they are subsequently found to be innocent. Similarly, people who may be guilty of a particular crime might be wrongfully accused of a more severe offense. When the prosecutor charges a defendant with an offense that is more severe than their actions, this would be referred to as overcharged. A prime reason people get overcharged is that alleged victims may exaggerate about an offense, or make up a story to gain an advantage in litigation (like divorce or a suit for money).
In the United States, you have the constitutional right to counsel. Police and prosecutors do not want lawyers involved on a pre-charge basis because they know an experienced attorney will make it more difficult to bring charges or incarcerate the suspect. Law enforcement will often tell a suspect that it is not in their best interest to hire a lawyer. Another law enforcement strategy is to act friendly or falsely claim that they only want to talk with the person as a witness, not a suspect. Friendly and deceptive practices are used to manipulate a person into not hireing an attorney. These are classic tactics to take advantage of an unrepresented suspect. Suspects represented by lawyers are less likely to be charged, less likely to provide incriminating evidence, and much less likely to be convicted.
Will I look guilty if I hire a lawyer?
Many people ask, “If I hire a lawyer, won’t I look guilty?” The simple answer is, “no, you will look smart.” Prosecutors do not charge people with criminal offenses because they look good or look bad, prosecutor’s charge people when they think they can get convictions. People with lawyers are harder to convict and thus less likely to be charged. People with lawyers are less likely to inadvertently or innocently provide incriminating evidence, thus reducing the chances of a charge when the evidence is less than overwhelming. People who hire very experienced and successful criminal defense attorneys on a pre-charge basis are even more likely to avoid prosecution.
An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer is Your Best Hope of Avoiding Charges
The bottom line is that if you are accused of a crime like OWI, DUI, domestic violence, retail fraud, criminal sexual conduct, child abuse, child pornography, or any misdemeanor or felony in state or federal court, you should hire an aggressive, smart, and tenacious attorney immediately to protect you.
The defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has extensive experience successfully defending clients charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses. We exclusively practice criminal defense in state and federal courts. Every partner has decades of experience representing clients on a pre-charge basis and in court when necessary. If you are under investigation, you need legal representation for a felony or misdemeanor allegation.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.