What do you do if you’re being investigated for a crime but haven’t yet been charged? Should you wait to hire an attorney until you have been indicted? Hiring an attorney before you’ve been charged may not be absolutely necessary, but getting a lawyer involved sooner rather than later presents a number of advantages. Law enforcement will suggest that only “guilty” people need lawyers, a tactic designed to allow them to take advantage of you at every opportunity. An attorney can level the playing field by protecting your rights and defending against the unfair tactics that police and investigators like to use.
If you’re facing a possible indictment, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Lauren Wimmer can help. If she can’t help you avoid indictment, she can prepare an aggressive defense to challenge the prosecution’s case at every turn. Don’t wait until it’s too late – call us at 215-712-1212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation about how you can fight back.
First and foremost, you have the right to hire an attorney at any time and for any reason. Too many people think that only guilty people hire attorneys. This misconception leads many people into trouble by implicating themselves or otherwise helping law enforcement build their case. The police may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer or suggest that only guilty people need an attorney. This is not true. You need an attorney to protect yourself from being charged with a crime you didn’t commit.
A closely-related myth is that if you’re not guilty, you should cooperate with law enforcement. You are free to choose whether or not you want to cooperate with law enforcement and the prosecution. In many cases, it makes sense to cooperate. An attorney can help you cooperate while protecting your rights and ensuring law enforcement doesn’t take advantage of you.
Your attorney is ethically required to keep anything you tell them in the strictest confidence. As a result, you can share the complete truth of the situation with them, and in turn, your attorney can explain the charges you may be facing and the strengths and weaknesses of the case against you. Armed with this knowledge, you and your attorney can then develop the best possible strategy for moving forward and facing the investigative process.
Hiring an attorney before you are indicted also gives them additional time to investigate your case. They may be able to assemble evidence that contradicts the police’s case or identifies its flaws or weaknesses. Your attorney can then use the results of their investigation to persuade prosecutors to charge you with lesser crimes or not proceed with charges at all.
In addition to the other advantages noted above, your attorney may be able to influence whether you are charged with a crime at all or what charges are brought against you. Your attorney will develop a professional relationship with the prosecutor and determine what arguments they may find persuasive. As a result, your lawyer may be able to help you avoid indictment or minimize the severity of the charges filed against you. Without an attorney, there is nothing to stop prosecutors from charging you with crimes you didn’t commit based on the one-sided evidence that they have collected.
The best case scenario for the police and the prosecution is for you to plead guilty. As a result, the police want you to incriminate yourself before they even file the charges. They may try to pressure you into talking about things you aren’t required to discuss or try to convince you that it’s in your best interest to cooperate. Without an attorney, there is nothing to stop law enforcement from engaging in these overaggressive tactics designed to make it easier for them to get a conviction.
Law enforcement and prosecutors work on behalf of the interests of the state of New Jersey. Although you are among the people of New Jersey, their position is adverse to your interests in a criminal investigation. A criminal defense attorney is a dedicated advocate for your rights. In fact, the police and prosecutors cannot speak to you without your lawyer present the minute that you hire one. The pre-indictment investigation is a critical stage in the criminal process. Incriminating or even ambiguous statements can be incredibly damaging to your case. Your attorney can help you make sure you don’t say anything that can be used against you later on.
If you’re being investigated for committing a crime or being involved in one, you are probably under a great deal of scrutiny. Everything that you do, everywhere that you go, and the people you speak to may be used by law enforcement to justify their belief that you should be charged with a crime and tried. Your attorney can give you guidance throughout the pre-indictment investigation and hopefully avoid making a bad situation worse.
Once the criminal prosecution process begins, time is your most precious asset. If an indictment is unavoidable, you want an attorney to begin building your defense as soon as possible. Hiring an attorney during the pre-indictment investigation gives them more time to prepare your defense in the event that you are charged with a crime.
If you’re under investigation, you probably know that law enforcement and prosecutors are not on your side. The best thing you could do is get a criminal defense attorney involved as soon as possible to avoid making an already difficult situation worse. If you’re facing possible charges and want someone to fight for your rights, contact Wimmer Criminal Defense Law at 215-712-1212 to schedule a free and confidential consultation about your case.