You believe someone is going to file a police report against you. Or, you are being questioned by the police. Or, you are being investigated by court prosecutors. In other words, there have been no charges filed but you are a suspect and it’s stressing you out. Do you need to wait for formal charges to be filed? Or can you use the help of a Tacoma defense attorney now? The short answers are no and yes respectively.
If you had been under the belief that you were required to wait for formal charges to get the help of a defense attorney you should be aware that you are not alone. Many, if not most, people make this false assumption. But here’s the thing. You’re being investigated by those who are under the belief that you’re guilty. They are simply looking for evidence to bolster that belief. Not that they have an agenda against you personally but they are given the job of finding out who committed a crime and right now they believe that person is you. So the investigation they’re doing is being done with the intent of charging and convicting you of a crime. So doesn’t it make sense to get a defense attorney as soon as possible so that an investigation on your behalf can be started as well?
Plus, if you get a defense attorney it gives you someone to whom you can deflect any police questioning. In most cases your defense attorney will advise you not to discuss anything with the police unless your defense attorney is present. Until and unless you are told differently this should be your practice. The police are trained to get information from you. Remember their goal – to charge and convict you of a crime. So not talking to them is in your best interests. However it should be obvious that you will want to do so in a polite manner. The longer you’re in the situation by yourself the harder it is to not feel like you’re being rude and just going ahead and talking to them. The law is complicated. You may not know all your rights. You may inadvertently incriminate yourself which you are never required to do. But it’s very hard to take back words once they’ve been said. This is just another reason you will want a defense attorney in the pre-charge process – they can help with the questioning process, advise you of your rights and help you avoid legal pitfalls you didn’t even know were there.
Three scenarios were mentioned. The first scenario happens even before police are involved. You think, “I’ll just go talk to them and straighten it out.” Don’t do this. If it doesn’t work then you could now also be charged with witness tampering. Your defense team, however, can approach the witness. Wouldn’t it be a huge relief if they could settle with the alleged victim and no police or court action was ever needed?
The next scenario has the police involved but not the courts yet. Your attorneys can fight for you. No one wants extra work that will not produce results. The police are the same. If your defense team can convince the police that there is not enough evidence to file the case with the court – they may not. You had the stress of a police investigation, but it stopped there and your headache is over.
Lastly there is the scenario where the police report is filed, the police filed the case with the court, but no charge has been brought. Just like the police, the government doesn’t want to do useless work. Your attorneys can fight for you at this stage too. They can advocate for you, they can point out that there is not enough evidence to proceed, and no charge is ever filed. If that can’t be done, they can fight for a lesser charge. Your troubles disappear or decrease even before the court process starts.
So, don’t wait. If you do, you lose this process by default. Your Tacoma defense attorney will contend for you but they can’t do that if you don’t make them aware. Let us stop the headache before it even really gets started. Please call the law office of Smith and White, PLLC – the first consultation is free.