During the initial consultation, many clients have asked me the million dollar question, "Should I hire an attorney for this case?" My answer is almost always, "Yes, you should." Here are my top 5 reasons why a person who is arrested should hire an attorney:
- YOU DIDN'T DO IT! - This is the best reason to hire an attorney. The police have arrested you because they think or believe you have broken the law. This doesn't make it true. Sometimes the police make honest mistakes or are given faulty, inaccurate, or incomplete information which leads them to arrest you. Some crimes, like DUI, are opinion crimes, meaning the police officer forms the opinion that you are DUI and arrests you based on a totality of factors. As you know, opinions can be challenged and have been known to be wrong....
- INVESTIGATE THE FACTS- Often times an attorney can gather important evidence that may have been overlooked or not available to the police at the time of the arrest. By immediately interviewing witnesses, taking videos and photographs, documenting injuries, obtaining cell phone or text records, etc. an attorney can obtain and preserve key evidence that can sometimes prove a person has been wrongly accused or falsely implicated in committing a crime. This is a time sensitive endeavor because some evidence can be destroyed or become unavailable.
- REDUCE STRESS- Getting arrested can be VERY stressful for the arrested person, his/her family, friends, employer, etc. The stress level can be further exacerbated when the arrested person does not know the legal process and/or what to expect. People generally fear the unknown. Meeting in person with an attorney, right after an arrest, is critical to reducing ones stress level. A good attorney will explain the criminal court process and the anticipated timeline of events for this particular type of case. Furthermore, explaining some possible/probable outcomes will alleviate much stress and fear of the unknown.
- COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES- Aside from the criminal consequences of an arrest, there are many other issues resulting from an arrest. Do I need to tell my employer? If I am a student, do I have to tell my school or college? Will I be kicked out of school or kicked off campus? Will my apartment complex evict me? How will this affect my future? An attorney will explain these potential collateral consequences and create a strategy and game-plan to protect your interests.
- WHAT IF YOU COMMITTED THE CRIME? - If a person had a lapse in judgment or made a bad decision and in fact committed the crime, this person needs an attorney as much as, or even more than a person who "didn't do it". In these situations, the attorney advocates and argues not only about guilt or innocence but also what is a FAIR and JUST punishment based on the unique facts and circumstances of this case and the person accused. Many times after carefully reviewing all aspects of the case, putting the incident in context, and looking at the history and characteristics of my client, I can show the prosecutor and/or the Judge that my recommended sentence is more appropriate in this particular case. This can result in a person admitting to their guilt, but receiving an appropriate punishment that is fair and commensurate with their actions.
Thank you for your continued support.