All too often people assume that lawyers are not engaged until after they have been charged with a crime. And this notion doesn’t come without reason. If you haven’t been charged with anything by authorities, why would you need to contact an attorney to advocate on your behalf?
However, engaging a lawyer before you are charged is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure all proper steps are taken that are in your best interests.
If you are being investigated or have reason to believe that you may be charged in the near future, hiring a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can be crucial. Often called “pre-charging representation”, “pre-indictment representation”, or “pre-filing representation”, engaging a lawyer as early as possible may result in the end of any investigation, or no charges ever being filed against you.
Below are 5 of the largest benefits to obtaining pre-filling representation.
- Help Deal with Law Enforcement
Probably the most universal rule when questioned by law enforcement is that you say as little as possible until you have spoken with an attorney. Indeed, this is your right under the U.S. Constitution. However, it may be a little nerve-racking to disobey orders by a law enforcement official. If you have an attorney before you are questioned, it can help ease this process and ensure you don’t say or do anything that may be used against you in court.
Additionally, pre-filing representation may help correct any inaccurate police reports. Although law enforcement is supposed to be objective, most have a biased opinion when investigating a crime, whether they know it or not. An attorney can discuss any inaccuracies or inconsistencies with law enforcement before a report is generated and provided to the prosecutors.
- Obtain Favorable Evidence/Witnesses
Having witnesses and evidence that is favorable to you and your case early in the process can be an extremely powerful weapon. These supporting tools can be used by your attorney in a strategic way to defend your case before it even proceeds to trial.
An attorney that is engaged early can help interview and prepare witnesses for any questions they may be asked in the future. Also, if given adequate time an attorney can perform a thorough search for all evidence favorable to your case and make sure that evidence is presented on your behalf.
- Prepare for Opposing Evidence/Witnesses
Similar to number two, witnesses and evidence that will be used against you can be extremely devastating to your case. Law enforcement and prosecutors begin lining up potential witnesses and searching for evidence as soon as possible. If you have an attorney before any charge is filed against you, they can begin anticipating these witnesses and any evidence, and plan for how to diffuse any negative impact on your case.
- Know and Applying Current Law
As most of us know, the law is always in a state of flux and can change with the swipe of a pen. Too often lawyers that are brought in after charges have been filed are rushing to gather all applicable law to their client’s case. This often leads to lack of oversight of changes to current law that may have helped their client, or worse, not fully understanding how courts are applying laws to cases similar to yours.
If a lawyer is engaged early, they can begin researching applicable law and ensure you have the best legal defense put forward. Moreover, an attorney that knows current jurisprudence can move quickly to have any negative evidence thrown out that should not be presented.
- Negotiate with Prosecutors
One of the most common techniques by prosecutors is to conjure up as many charges as possible against you and file them all in hopes that at least one will stick. They know that some, or most will be dismissed later on.
An attorney may be able to engage with prosecutors and convince them against filing questionable charges against you. This will improve your changes of the remaining charges either being reduced or dismissed entirely before your case even gets to trial.
Engaging an attorney as early in your legal process as possible is crucial to a successful outcome. Obtaining representation before charges are ever filed is even more beneficial and can be the difference between a finding of guilt and having all charges dropped. If you are under any investigation or believe that charges may soon be filed against you, contact an experienced and qualified lawyer for pre-filing representation today.