If you have asked yourself whether you should work with a criminal defense attorney, the chances are likely that you should be working with one. Criminal defense attorneys have the ability to influence the result of a criminal examination and trial. They will ensure that your rights are protected during a police investigation, will navigate the criminal justice system when charges are filed and will challenge the government’s case during a trial. This article will provide a brief guide on when to work with a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney.
1. After Charges Are Filed
You might not realize you require legal services until you are served with a warrant or citation. Law enforcement officers can finish an investigation without ever contacting you, and if you are contacted by law enforcement they may not inform you of their intent to file charges. It is for these reasons that attorneys are often only retained once the charges have been filed.
A Jacksonville criminal defense attorney’s work begins as soon as they are retained. In some cases, a person will be arrested and placed in custody unless they are able to post bail. At the time of arrest, the arresting law official is required to read the Miranda rights which include the right to legal counsel. Your attorney should be present for questioning, and they can help you reduce the bail amount or secure release via a pre-trial supervision agency.
Once you are released from jail and make a court first appearance, the criminal defense attorney must identify and assess the evidence from your case file to determine the situation. Attorneys attend pre-trial conferences where they can negotiate with the public prosecutors to reduce charges or secure dismissals. If a plea agreement is not obtained, the attorney will file pre-trial motions and prepare the case for a trial.
2. Before The Charges Are Filed
Law enforcement officers will often contact suspects in a case before filing any charges with the hope of obtaining a confession from the guilty party.
3. Not Speaking To Legal Officers
Always remember, you do not have any obligation to assist with criminal investigations. According to Miranda rights, you have the right to remain silent and have a criminal defense attorney available during questioning. It is essential that you are aware of these rights as investigating officers are not required to inform you of the right to counsel during the investigation. In fact, you will only be informed of your rights if or when you are placed under arrest.