Presumed Innocent: The Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney Early
October 11th, 2023
Most people know they should hire a criminal defense lawyer after they have been arrested and charged with a crime. But did you know there are benefits to hiring a criminal defense lawyer before criminal proceedings have been filed? Some people worry that hiring a criminal defense lawyer will be perceived as an admission of guilt. But hiring a lawyer doesn’t make you look guilty; it makes you look smart. When you are facing the government’s vast resources, a lawyer is often the only one who will protect your presumed innocent rights.
If you suspect you are the target of a criminal investigation, even if legal proceedings have not been filed, you should still consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer. The earlier you get a lawyer involved, the better. A criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights to be presumed innocent before the police make an arrest. In some cases, a lawyer can prevent police from obtaining evidence they might use to try to convince you. Other times, they can negotiate favorable terms in exchange for your testimony.
Hire an Attorney Even if You’re “Just” Under Investigation
Being under investigation is not a neutral term. It means the police suspect you have committed a crime, but they don’t yet have enough evidence to start formal legal proceedings against you.
Just because criminal proceedings have not been filed does not mean you will not be charged with a crime. In fact, if you learn you are under investigation, it is likely part of a pre-filing investigation when police analyze a case to determine who to charge and what charges to file. This means the police are building a case against you and gathering evidence to support their theory of what happened.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Provides Protection
Hiring a criminal defense layer creates a layer of protection between you and the people trying to convict you of a crime. When you hire a lawyer, the police will no longer communicate with you directly. Instead, any communication must go through your lawyer.
As part of their legal advocacy, an attorney can help you decide what information you want to share with the police, or whether you want to share anything at all. A lawyer can protect you against inadvertently saying something that could result in criminal proceedings being filed against you. A lawyer can also negotiate so you receive something in exchange for your cooperation, such as immunity from prosecution or a lighter sentence.
In any criminal proceeding, remember that it is the prosecutor, not the police, who ultimately decides whether to press charges. Having a lawyer on your side might influence the prosecutor’s decision, as an attorney might be able to point the prosecutor towards evidence they might have otherwise overlooked (and that does not implicate you in the crime) or identify weaknesses in their case that indicate you should not be charged.
Hiring a Lawyer Will Save You Money
It may seem counter-intuitive, but hiring a criminal defense lawyer can save you money. Of course, you will need to pay an attorney’s fee. But often, the fees and any fines you are assessed in legal proceedings outweigh the money you could have spent on hiring a criminal defense attorney. And if you decide not to hire a lawyer and are sent to jail, you won’t be earning any money and will likely lose your job.
The Law is Complicated: A Lawyer Knows the Legal System
Criminal proceedings are complicated, confusing, and designed to intimidate you. A criminal defense lawyer has invested years of study learning the law and spends many days in court. You will benefit from your lawyer’s experience, as your lawyer has likely handled cases involving similar charges and will know how to respond and the best defenses to raise. A lawyer will analyze the prosecutor’s evidence and develop defenses to the charges.
A Lawyer Will Conduct an Independent Investigation
A prosecutor’s decision to press charges is usually based on a police report, which is the product of a one-sided investigation. A criminal defense lawyer will conduct their own investigation and gather evidence that the police might have overlooked or refused to explore. The information uncovered in the investigation could yield evidence that will exonerate you of the crime or be used to reduce the severity of the charges.
Presumed Innocent: The Cornerstone of Criminal Defense
Someone suspected of having committed a crime is supposed to enjoy the presumption of innocence, which means everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But it often feels like police officers, prosecutors, and even jurors assume a suspect is guilty as soon as they have been arrested.
A criminal defense lawyer will hold the prosecution to their burden and require that they prove every element of their case, beyond a reasonable doubt. And if the prosecutor cannot prove even a single element of the crime, then the defendant should be found not guilty and go free.
Contact Elmen Legal for Aggressive Legal Advocacy
If you are under investigation or are facing criminal proceedings, Elmen Legal can help. Elmen Legal is based in Ann Arbor and proudly defends people accused of crimes in Saline, Pittsfield Township, Chelsea, and Ypsilanti, and in Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Ingham, Livingston, and Oakland Counties.
Categories: Criminal Defense Attorneys