You should hire a criminal defense attorney whenever there is a realistic chance of being charged with a crime. “Wait and see” is oftentimes the worst strategy imaginable. In fact, it is not a strategy at all, but rather gives up all control of your future to the decision-making and judgment of others , many of whom will not have your best interests in mind.
One key factor to note is that not all criminal defense attorneys, or firms, are created equal. In fact, there is often a wide disparity between the quality of representation two separate criminal defense firms can provide their clients. Some are far better than others. Some are outright incompetent and dangerous. Others are simply lazy. Others are not committed to the cause and all that entails. And a small handful of firms will represent you the right way with passion, commitment, and professionalism. Don’t just “get an attorney.” Get the right attorney (law firm) at the right time.
Having a criminal defense attorney early in the process will maximize the potential for a favorable result of your situation, and potentially save you more time and money in the long run. Rather than being seen as a “fixed cost,” hiring a criminal defense attorney should be viewed as a long-term investment for your future, freedom, and reputation. There is also the invaluable “peace of mind,” knowing you have done all you can to maximize your chances at the best result possible given the evidence for or against you. Hiring the right law firm at the right time should alleviate at least some of the stress you are undergoing when facing criminal charges.
Here is a list of some other scenarios when you should hire a criminal defense attorney:
1) If you are questioned by law enforcement: There may be a criminal investigation where the police think you are a potential suspect. Law enforcement will want to speak with you. The reality in a lot of these situations is that the officers don’t have enough evidence against you to issue an arrest, but by speaking with you they hope to get you to reveal information that will give them enough to arrest you. Don’t fall for it. Keep your mouth closed, politely decline to answer any further questioning, and unequivocally ask to speak with a lawyer.
2) If your home or vehicle is searched: If the search was unlawful, a good attorney may eventually be able to prevent the prosecutor from being able to use any damaging evidence found from the search. If the search was lawful, a quality, locally experienced attorney will be able to explain what charges you may face and guide you through the process of what will likely come next.
3) If your property is seized: Depending on the reason why your property was seized in the first place, you may need to get a court order to get your property released. Hiring a criminal defense attorney will provide you the best chance of getting your property back in a quick and efficient manner.
4) If your minor child gets in trouble with the law: The juvenile court system is completely different from the adult system, so having a qualified criminal defense attorney that is well-equipped in navigating the juvenile system is important to protecting your child’s rights if they get in trouble with the law. Learn how the San Diego juvenile system differs from adult court here.
5) If you want to expunge your criminal record: You may be eligible to have your previous conviction(s) expunged from your record. An “expungement” is when the previous conviction is undone for many purposes and the case is dismissed. If the petition is granted, you will no longer need to disclose those convictions in the vast majority of instances. Try it once. Try it right. Go for your expungement with the assistance of a quality, locally experienced, criminal defense law firm.
6) If you want to reduce your felony conviction(s) to misdemeanor(s): If you have been convicted of a felony that is a “wobbler,” meaning it could have been charged as a misdemeanor, you can petition the Court to have it reduced to a misdemeanor. Hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney maximizes your chances of prevailing on this request.
7) If you want to petition for removal from California’s Sex Offender Registry: Recent changes in the law now allows some people with sex crime convictions to petition for removal from having to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290. A quality, locally experienced, criminal defense attorney will be able to best guide you through the process and determine your eligibility and the best time to file for such life changing relief.
You can also learn more about why you should always be proactive, as opposed to reactive, when charged with a crime, in this video by our Managing Partner David P. Shapiro here.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges and want to learn more about the many things to consider when hiring a criminal defense law firm to maximize your chances at obtaining the best outcome possible, give us a call today at (619) 295-3555 to set up a case evaluation with one of our attorneys.
The contents of this article and blog are meant for informational and marketing purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Viewing and/or use of the blog does not form an attorney-client relationship. No statements in this post are a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of a particular result in your case.