If the police have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime, they may investigate the case before obtaining an arrest warrant against you. Because you are just under investigation does not mean that you do not need the help of experienced attorney.
Some people say hiring a lawyer during an investigation is a bad idea because it makes you look guilty. The truth is you are almost always better off having an experience criminal defense lawyer to guide you through the process if you are under investigation.
With an experienced attorney by your side, you can face an investigation knowing that you have a professional at you side to answer questions, advise you of your rights and guide you through the process.
Moreover, police officers and prosecutors are put on notice that they must respect your rights and conduct themselves professionally. A police officer ordinarily should not question you if you are represented by counsel.
Here are two valid reasons why you need to hire an attorney as soon as you learn that the police are investigating you.
Your attorney will speak to the police on your behalf
Sometimes, you may be inclined to want to “clear things up” by cooperating with law enforcement during the investigation process. However, it is important to understand that what you say can and might be used against you in a trial.
An attorney can better assess your situation and tell you if it is better to remain silent or provide information to the police that might be relevant. Simply put, sometimes you are better off invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and sometimes it is better to speak to police early in the investigation. If you speak to the police, you are entitled to have your attorney present and you and your attorney and terminate the interview if you do not feel comfortable about the interview. In any event an experienced attorney can evaluate the situation and guide you through the process.
Sometimes it is sufficient for the attorney to provide important evidence to the police that might clear up any questions they might have. The key is to be professional and respectful while protecting your rights. An attorney cannot prevent you from being arrested if the police have an arrest warrant, however it is not uncommon for police to notify an attorney of an arrest warrant and allow the accused to turn himself in. Turning yourself in, with your attorney beside you, helps you to be prepared for the process and makes it easier to be released on a reasonable bond.
Begin work on your defense
By bringing an attorney on board early, your attorney will have more time to investigate the matter and begin work on your defense.
Your attorney, often through a private investigator, can interview witnesses and obtain key evidence. Your attorney can piece together the timeline that might shed light on your case and secure important information or documents.
Identifying exculpatory evidence early in an investigation can be very helpful either in preparing for an eventual trial or even persuading the prosecutor to drop the case.
An attorney can protect your rights during the investigation and, together with a private investigator, begin locating potential defense witnesses in the event of a trial.
As soon as the police begin to ask you questions, you need to hire a lawyer. Even before your arrest, a lawyer can help safeguard your rights and interests while steering clear of missteps that can unintentionally incriminate you down the road.