You haven’t even been charged with a crime. So, you may ask yourself why you would need legal representation. As soon as a person becomes aware of the possibility of criminal charges, perhaps through hints of an investigation, pre-charge representation could mean the difference between charges being filed in the first place.
Being pro-active starts the process of early intervention. Once charges are filed against a person, a lengthy and costly legal process begins that can have long-term negative consequences. That is why it is never too early to retain effective legal counsel to protect your freedom and way of life. An accusation can lead to an investigation and an investigation can lead to charges. Pre-charge representation can clear the path for a person accused to get on with their life.
Reports, Complaints & Accusations: Before a person ever gets formally charged with a crime, an accusation is usually lodged as a complaint with local law enforcement. Once an alleged victim makes an accusation, law enforcement procedure determines a specific course of action:
- Investigation of complaint to determine validity.
- If found to be a valid complaint of a crime, a case is generated and turned over to a prosecutor.
- The prosecutor reviews evidence and reports provided by law enforcement to determine if there are sufficient grounds to file criminal charges.
Pro-Action Opportunity: Each procedural step taken after a complaint is reported is an opportunity to be pro-active with pre-charge representation. A legal advocate who aggressively represents the best interests of the accused may be able to resolve the situation and avert any further action taken by law enforcement or a prosecutor.
Pre-Charge Resolution Options: There are options to resolve a matter before it ever reaches the stage of formal criminal charges. A skilled attorney will know the legal and ethical options to pursue:
- Private settlement or agreement between the accused and the accuser before a complaint is ever filed.
- Cooperation with law enforcement to clear up their investigation and avoid a case being referred to a prosecutor.
- Cooperation with prosecutor to reach an agreement to avoid formal charges being filed.
The Ways Of An Investigation: The moment a person is questioned by law enforcement, that is the time to retain representation of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Often, the first round of questions with law enforcement may seem rather benign. Time passes and a person hears nothing else about the matter. This often leads to a false sense of security. The reality is that, according to the typical ways an investigation progresses, investigators could be slowly building a case against you. If you find yourself questioned in connection with a criminal investigation, do not delay. Take action immediately. Retain pre-charge representation with a defense attorney who is tasked with protecting your best interests.
Exercise The Right To Silence: Law enforcement officers are highly trained at asking questions in such a way as to make a person feel compelled to answer. That is part of their job. The average person may feel that they have nothing to hide. However, even the words of the innocent can be used against them. That is why it is critical to exercise your right to remain silent. Seasoned prosecutors know the strategies that can turn a person’s testimony and statements against them. A legal professional is a citizen’s best protection when it comes to answering questions posed by law enforcement or prosecutors.
Specialization Matters: You wouldn’t visit a pediatrician for a geriatric problem would you? That same reasoning should guide a person under investigation to seek out a legal professional who is a specialist in pre-charge representation. If you think that someone may have filed a complaint against you, or if you are under investigation, the time to contact a legal advocate is now. Contact us and begin building your legal strategy to avoid the possibility of facing criminal consequences.
Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.