If you have been accused of a crime, it is important to speak to an attorney right away. An attorney may be able to help before charges are filed and before an arrest warrant is issued. While this is not possible in all cases, having an attorney explain your rights to you can prevent you from incriminating yourself and damaging your case.
After a report is filed, the police may contact you and ask you to come to the police station to answer questions. They may tell you that they are just trying to get your side of the story so that you can clear your name. It is not a good idea to speak to the police without an attorney present. Contact a criminal defense lawyer before you reach out to the police to make sure that your rights are protected.
In some cases, the police do not contact you to conduct an interview but instead forward their report to the prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney will then make a decision about whether or not to file charges and what charges should be filed, if any. After formal charges are filed, an arrest warrant is issued by a judge, and an arraignment is scheduled. An arraignment is a formal proceeding where the defendant is formally charged and pleads not guilty.
Hiring a lawyer before you are formally charged is a good idea because an attorney can start working on your case right away before you are arrested. In some cases, a criminal defense attorney can convince the prosecutor not to file charges. If a prosecuting attorney decides to proceed with the case, having an attorney on your case can sometimes prevent you from suffering the embarrassment of being arrested unexpectedly while driving or while at home or work and waiting for a friend or relative to bond you out of jail. A lawyer may be able to find out if there has been a warrant issued for your arrest and help you arrange to turn yourself in. In some cases, an attorney may be able to ask a judge to forego ordering a bond, especially if you live locally in the jurisdiction where you are charged, have a steady job and do not have any history of non-appearance for court.
An attorney can advise you of your rights to ensure that you do not incriminate yourself and damage your case. You should talk to an attorney about the facts of your case instead of the police. Your statements to the police can and will be used against you if you make any incriminating statements. Police are trained to get information from suspects and are so effective at doing so that some defendants falsely confess to crimes they did not commit.
Statements to your attorney are confidential and are protected by attorney-client privilege. If an attorney talks with a prosecutor or law enforcement (after obtaining your authorization to do so) the attorney’s statements cannot be used against you in court. An attorney is not allowed to incriminate you to authorities because a lawyer owes a duty of loyalty to his or her clients.
If you suspect that you may be charged with a crime, William Hanlon St Petersburg criminal attorney may be able to help. Contact William Hanlon today to schedule a consultation. Mr. Hanlon can begin investigating the case before you are formally charged Even if it is not possible to get your case dismissed before charges are filed, William Hanlon will work hard to prevent you from having to serve time in jail or prison and to get the best outcome possible.