One of the most frequently asked questions of me in my day-to-day practice is whether or not a lawyer is he worth retaining before charges are filed.
I have found that the clients who come to me as early as possible usually get the best outcomes. Why is that?
The first reason is obvious: a client retains me at the beginning of the legal process, even before charges are filed, is likely to have the most opportunity to plan any potential defenses, interact with the prosecutors office early on, and potentially head off any criminal charges from being filed.
These are some of the reasons that I have found that early retention has been successful:
Heading off an interview with police that could end in disaster.
Speaking with police investigators on behalf of clients to learn additional facts to help with any potential defenses.
Setting up the case for an informal resolution prior to criminal filing. A case in point is a reckless driving case I had of a young man with some learning disabilities. We were able to convince the district attorney to allow the young man to take driver, safety courses, perform community service and write an essay on the consequences of dangerous driving. The district attorney declined to file charges after those, goals were met.
Assisting the client with surrender and bail prior to a search warrant being issued and having the client taken from their home or office. This obviously avoids embarrassment and potential conflict between the client and the police as well as eliminating the possibility that the police will question the client without an attorney present.
Additionally, there have been service circumstances where an early investigation has changed the prosecutors decision on what charges to file. For instance, we have engaged investigators at the very beginning of a case, and done a far more thorough job than law-enforcement was able to do and then presented that evidence to the district attorneys office, who then decided that filing charges would be inappropriate because the burden of proof could not be met based upon the original allegations.
Lastly, clients who show an interest in early action on their problem are generally more willing to follow the advice of counsel and guess the best outcome. It is very common for me to get panicked. Telephone calls on the eve of the arraignment with clients who are desperate for any help at all. This is sometimes evidence of lack of planning, impulsive behavior, and poor judgment overall. This is easily avoided by an early telephone. Call when trouble arises so that all of the above issues can be addressed. I, strongly urge anyone who is facing criminal charges to engage an attorney as soon as possible. If you would like to discuss your legal matter with me, I can be reached at area code (949) 474-8008 or by email at email@example.com.