A person accused of a crime might wait until formal charges are filed before hiring a defense attorney. However, putting off getting legal representation might not be the best course of action. Criminal defendants have the right to have legal counsel on their side through all stages of their case. By retaining a lawyer early – even as soon as the investigation – the accused will have an advocate protecting their rights and addressing injustices that could affect the outcome of the case.
Speak with a Defense Lawyer as Soon as Possible
People might think they should call a criminal defense lawyer only after charges are filed against them. This is not necessarily true. In some cases, an arrest and charge can happen within a very short time of each other, so there is very little time between the investigation and prosecution of the offense. However, in other cases, a lengthy investigation may occur before formal charges are made. Even in cases where criminal charges have not yet been filed, calling a defense lawyer early on is still beneficial.
Retaining legal representation right away has several benefits. A lawyer can:
- Preserve and gather evidence,
- Communicate with the prosecutor,
- Act as an intermediary between the defendant and the police, and
- Have more time to build a defense.
An Attorney Can Help Protect the Defendant's Rights
An accused person has certain rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The right to remain silent,
- The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,
- The right to cross-examine witnesses, and
- The right to know the charges against the accused.
A lawyer protects a client's due process rights by investigating the actions of law enforcement and prosecutors. The defense attorney may file motions to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the accused's constitutional rights. They may also call out governmental overreach and seek remedies for injustices.
The sooner a defendant hires a defense attorney, the sooner their lawyer can facilitate a fair justice process.
A Defense Lawyer Can Provide Advice and Guidance
The criminal justice system can be confusing and difficult to understand, with a myriad of rules and laws that can seem daunting. A defense attorney can provide invaluable assistance by leveraging their in-depth understanding of judicial processes and procedures. They can deliver clients advice on how to proceed, letting them know the paths available for moving forward.
At the early stages of a criminal case, an attorney's guidance can alleviate stress and worry, as it removes some of the unknowns. This can make the steps that follow more manageable for the defendant.
A Lawyer Can Pursue a Favorable Outcome Before Trial
When accused of a crime, some people believe that their only option is to go to trial and hope for the best. However, a lawyer can pursue a favorable outcome in several ways before the trial begins. For example, during a pre-trial investigation, an attorney may uncover holes in the evidence and attempt to convince the prosecutor to drop the charges altogether.
If the charges aren't dropped, the lawyer can continue building the defense and may even negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor outside the courtroom. This can avoid a lengthy, costly, and stressful trial.
Reach Out to Our Team Today
As soon as you're aware that you're involved in a criminal case, speak with an attorney. They can help protect your rights and represent you in court if necessary. They can also provide guidance and advice on approaching your case and seeking an optimal result outside of trial.
To get started on your case in Salt Lake City, please contact Lokken & Putnam, P.C. at (801) 829-9783.