Do You Need A Criminal Attorney Before You've Been Charged?

Law Blog

One of the weirdest situations in criminal law is the question of what to do if you haven't been charged with an offense. If the police or a prosecutor have formally charged you, it's easy to determine that you require criminal attorney services. Do you need a criminal attorney, though, if you haven't been charged? Let's look at several possible scenarios where you may want to retain counsel.

Allegations Are Floating Around

This is one of the trickier scenarios because a lot of it depends on whether there's potential for real criminal exposure. More simply put: people run their mouths, but does that mean you need to hire a criminal attorney?

A lot of it boils down to how bad the offense in question is. If people are accusing you of a felony, then you may want to lawyer up. Similarly, it may be wise to hire an attorney if you stand to lose your freedom quickly, such as what happens when someone faces a parole violation.

Cops Are Conducting an Investigation

It's tempting to dismiss this situation because you may not be fully aware that you're the subject of the investigation. Cops frequently fudge the way they describe these situations, such as telling someone they're interviewing that they're "a person of interest." Similarly, even someone who starts out as just a witness might become the subject of a case.

The smart course of action is to always insist on your right to have a criminal attorney present when you speak with the police. Wait until your lawyer shows up, and then follow their instructions as to which questions are appropriate to address.

There Is a Grand Jury

Prosecutors don't have to go straight to charging someone with a crime. One tool at their disposal is a grand jury, a jury that's convened to evaluate if the prosecutor has enough evidence to support charges.

Notably, you may not know there's a grand jury unless the police or the prosecution tips their hand. If you're aware of a grand jury exploring charges against you, however, it's probably smart to retain criminal attorney services.

Searches or Seizures Have Occurred

Once the cops start getting physical with you or your property, it's time to call a criminal attorney. Even if they don't charge you with anything, you'll want to document what happened. While it takes a different type of lawyer to handle the case, you may be able to pursue a civil rights claim against the police.

To learn more, contact a criminal attorney.


23 April 2020

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