Should I Hire an Attorney If I Am Being Investigated for Committing a Crime?
When the facts of a crime are complex or do not immediately lead to a suspect, local police or federal law enforcement may need to conduct an investigation into who committed the crime. If you have found yourself under investigation for committing a crime, you may also find yourself wondering whether hiring an attorney is in your best interests.
Here are a few essential considerations to keep in mind about hiring an attorney while under investigation.
Always Hire an Attorney When Under Criminal Investigation
Always hire a defense lawyer when you are under criminal investigation.
A trusted Arizona criminal defense lawyer may help you avoid being charged with a crime at all by avoiding legal mistakes.
It may be tempting to think you don't need a lawyer, especially if you are confident you are innocent of the crime being investigated. This is the wrong approach to take.
Know that if police or other law enforcement officials are questioning you in relation to a crime or criminal investigation, it is quite likely you are already a suspect in the investigation.
When this is indeed the case, nearly anything you say could be construed in a way that makes you look guilty, even when innocent.
While the film is fiction, the classic film My Cousin Vinny excellently illustrates this point.
At one point in the film, the local sheriff questions the eventual defendant in the film when he shot the clerk.
Incredulously, the character responds with, "I shot the clerk? I shot the clerk?" At trial, the local sheriff takes the questioning, interrogatory nature of the defendant's response out of the equation entirely.
Instead, the sheriff merely testifies the defendant said in an affirmative manner, "I shot the clerk. I shot the clerk."
By hiring a lawyer immediately when you are under investigation, you will have counsel present who will help you avoid making similar mistakes.
Having legal counsel already hired is especially important if you are eventually charged with the crime being investigated.
What Happens If You Are Charged With a Crime
A police investigation into a crime can take months or even years to fully investigate.
The government, for example, has seven years to bring a felony charge against a defendant.
If you wait until the investigation concludes, you needlessly shortchange the amount of time your defense lawyer can investigate the facts and create a strong legal defense.
Often, a strong legal defense can mean getting authorities to stop investigation you once they are presented with clear facts showing your innocence.
When your lawyer prevents an arrest from being made, you can continue to have a spotless arrest record if you have never been arrested previously.
Alternatively, when facts of the crime are complex, your lawyer has the time to prepare the best possible defense if you hire them as soon as you realize you are under investigation.
This is of paramount importance should you be placed under arrest and charged with the crime.
If your lawyer has been prepared for the possibility of a client being placed under arrest, your Arizona criminal defense lawyer may be able to arrange things so that the defendant does not need to go to jail.
Rather, they can simply appear in court before the judge.
Even if the charge requires being sent to jail, your lawyer will have already planned a strategy to get you released on your own recognizance or on a low bond.
In short, getting a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer you trust is the best way to prepare for all possible legal outcomes when law enforcement investigates a crime.
Contact Tyler Allen Law, PLLC for a legal consultation if you are being investigated for committing a crime.