Why Would Someone Hire A Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney?
Brad Post: Welcome to Your Best Defense Podcast. We are speaking to Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Attorney Jacquelyn Ford. Jacqui, how are you doing today?
Jacquelyn Ford: I’m doing very well, thank you.
BP: Good. We have some specific topics we’re going to talk about today, and we’ll just jump right into it. Why would someone need to hire a defense attorney?
JF: Well, certainly if the government is accusing you—or if someone is accusing you of a crime or a wrong against them, you’re going to need someone to be able to defend that. So you want to hire a defense attorney because what criminal lawyers do is very different than what divorce lawyers do. What criminal defense lawyers do is very different than what a car wreck lawyer does. The law is very different, and how we get things done is very different. If you’re hiring a doctor, you want to hire a doctor who specializes in what you need. So you hire a criminal defense attorney to stand up against the man.
BP: This kind of brings up my next question—when to hire a criminal defense attorney.
JF: I think the answer to when is early. As early as you can. There are different things lawyers can do at different stages of the proceedings, and one of the things that our office provides that a lot of criminal defense lawyers don’t provide is something we call pre-filing representation. It’s during the investigative process. While law enforcement is investigating and making a decision on whether or not to file charges, you should have a lawyer right then. You should have someone advocating on your behalf long before they’ve filed the charges and the warrant has been issued, you’ve been arraigned, and now the ball is already rolling. If you’ve waited that long, it’s okay, but certainly if you know that charges might be coming, I would encourage you to contact a criminal defense attorney right away because there are things we can do on the front end to maybe keep the charges from being filed, negotiate an appropriate charge that would be filed. And the people who are making the decision—you know, the District Attorney’s office—the more information they have, the better, more informed decision they can make, too. So they appreciate it when counsel comes forward early, and it shows a lot of things about the client. It shows they are very interested in taking this seriously, that they are going to step up and do what they need to do. It shows initiative. These are all good things. A lot of people, I think, are afraid that hiring a criminal defense lawyer, especially before charges are filed, might mean that they look guilty or something. I’ve heard that, and I think that’s a very unfortunate misperception. My friends in law enforcement, if they’re in trouble, they’re hiring a lawyer early, not late. Part of the things that we do in a pre-filing representation is that we check every day. When we’re representing someone on a pre-file basis, we check warrants morning, afternoon, and evening. Anna, our office manager and my assistant who we adore, takes that part of her job very seriously. She has a list, and every morning when she comes in, it’s one of the first things she does. Do we have any live warrants today? That matters because, if the warrant has gone active, then you don’t have to wait for them to come get you. We can help set you up with a bondsman and do a surrender. It’s a much less traumatic experience for the client. We set you up with a bondsman, they take you over to the jail, and it’s all pre-arranged—it’s called a walk-through. So you’re not being arrested and placed in handcuffs and dragged downtown in the back of a police car. They’re not showing up at your home and taking you from your family or your job. You are self-surrendering, so it takes some of the trauma and the stress off of the client too, to be able to do it that way. We notify the client and arrange for a surrender, hopefully within 24 hours. We don’t ever want to be seen as fleeing or running, but clients have to make arrangements with their jobs and their families too, so we make arrangements and they surrender that morning. If the charges are here in Oklahoma County, you are arraigned that afternoon—every county does things differently. But you will know what’s going to happen. My best advice is to contact a lawyer as early as you can so you can start getting good advice. The sooner the better. It’s not going to help you to wait because the waiting creates the snowball, the traumatic arrest, the traumatic experience. The people don’t know how the system works. That’s why you hire a criminal defense lawyer—this is what I do every single day. I know how it works, and if I don’t know, I know the person to call to find out.
BP: All right, you’ve been listening to Your Best Defense Podcast with Attorney Jacquelyn Ford, and you can check out her firm at www.fordlawokc.com.