Fine, now I know the Prosecuting Attorney is going to prosecute me, what can I do to help myself?
The first and most obvious answer is I can have an attorney represent me. The Constitution of the United States of America provides that every person, no matter who you are or what you are accused of doing, will be provided with an attorney to represent them in a court of law. However, YOU have the choice to retain an attorney of your preference, one that you might feel more comfortable with or have a greater sense of confidence in his or her abilities. You have the opportunity to retain a lawyer who is experienced in representing people charged with crimes. Trust in your attorney, their abilities and experience should be the main criteria used in your decision of who your lawyer should be. After all, your freedom, your money and the ability to be left alone, without interference from the government is at stake.
How can a Private Attorney possibility provide me with a stronger defense?
A private attorney, such as myself, is in a much different position than that of the Public Defender. The Public Defender and his/her assistants are often assigned hundreds of cases creating a tremendous workload on each individual attorney. This workload may not allow an assistant public defender the time, energy and resources to put in that extra effort that might make a difference in your case. This may not always be true, but is the possibility of spending the rest of your life in prison worth that risk?
I do not have the same workload at my office. I do have the time to put in that extra effort that will make a difference. I do have the ability to devote myself fully and completely to your case. I do have the experience to aggressively and successfully represent you.
When should I seek the advise of an attorney?
As soon as possible. If you have been charged with any offense you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. If you have been arrested but not charged, it is imperative that you contact a lawyer immediately. Even if you even suspect that a law enforcement agency is interested in you it is still imperative that you contact a lawyer immediately.
Remember, the government's case is made during the investigative stage of the process. However, this is the time when individuals who are unfamiliar with the legal system often give friendly agents and officers information which is ultimately used against either themselves, their families or their friends. While law enforcement is doing their job investigating and charging people, you need to make certain that someone is protecting you.
If the police appear at your door one night with a Search Warrant you need to contact an attorney immediately. While it is unlikely that the search will therefore be halted, there are important facts that you need to be aware of. For example, you should check on the Search Warrant where the police are allowed to search, exactly what they are searching for, and what they are authorized to seize. You are entitled to an inventory of what was seized, and a copy of the Search Warrant and Affidavit.
What if I want to carefully reflect and take my time in making this decision?
You should think long and carefully before making this critical decision. It is one that will have long lasting repercussions. However, time will work against you. Allowing the passage of time may hinder your attorney in his or her preparation of your case. Memories fade, favorable witnesses disappear, evidence is lost or destroyed and critical court dates are missed. The passage of time will not work to your advantage in most situations. Don't gamble with your freedom!
To employ aggressive defense tactics for your case, action by an experienced criminal defense attorney must be taken immediately. Evidentiary rules must be complied with. Many defenses are time sensitive and can no longer be utilized after certain periods of time. Evidence favorable to your defense must be identified, located and preserved. Witnesses favorable to your defense must be identified and interviewed.