While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
If you are arrested for a crime that you did not commit, it is extremely beneficial to hire a criminal law attorney, if you can afford one. However, in addition to simply hiring one, it is important that you do so as quickly as possible. Here are a few of the reasons why hiring an attorney quickly can prove to be invaluable.
An Attorney Can Obtain Information Related to Your Alibi Before it Disappears
One of the most important reasons to hire an attorney quickly after your arrest is because they can obtain evidence that may otherwise disappear. If you have an alibi for the date and time of the crime, you may be able to convince a judge or jury of your innocence. Depending on where you were, there are many ways an alibi can be proven. If you were in a store, restaurant or gas station, cameras may have caught you shopping, eating or pumping gas. Unfortunately, most stores don't save the information caught on cameras indefinitely. You may only have a few days or a few weeks to obtain the film or images from these cameras before they are gone forever, which can throw a wrench in your defense. Once an attorney is hired, they will get to work getting information quickly that they know may not be available if they delay.
A Lawyer Will Perform Pre-Trial Witness Depositions
Another important thing a criminal law attorney can do if they are hired early in the process is to perform pre-trial witness depositions. Police officers have had a chance to interview the witnesses who may have identified you or given information that led to your arrest. However, the police often don't interrogate the witness or ask about the possibility of them hearing or seeing something and misinterpreting it incorrectly. When an attorney is hired early on, they can schedule a deposition with these witnesses and question them. The witness may reveal information to your attorney they did not to police or they may suddenly become confused about what they think they heard or saw. If they stick to their story, at least your attorney will know exactly what the witness will testify to on the stand, allowing them time to come up with a way to discredit or disprove what the witness is stating.
Unfortunately, there is only so much time a judge will allow you to have to prepare your case before setting a trial date. If you don't hire an attorney initially, and then do so later, it is at the judge's discretion as to whether they will allow the attorney the time they may want to perform these depositions. Therefore, the earlier you can hire an attorney, the better the odds are that they will have enough time to complete this task.
The Lawyer Will Get the Ball Rolling on Your Case
The last advantage to hiring a criminal law attorney early on is that they can get the ball rolling on your case. Public defenders often have large caseloads and defend a large number of individuals. As such, if they take on your case, your trial date may be pushed back to accommodate their busy schedule and to give them the time they need to work on your case. Unfortunately, there are many negatives to having criminal charges hanging over your head. If you are out on bail, you may have restrictions placed upon you. If you are looking to move or change jobs, you may have to disclose that you have criminal charges pending. And the stress of worrying about what may or may not happen can be nerve-wracking. Private attorneys typically have less clients, and therefore can get the ball rolling on your case and bring it to a resolution quicker, allowing you to move on with your life.
If you find yourself arrested for a crime you did not commit, you may be dazed and in shock. However, it is important that you begin to think about hiring an attorney quickly. Hiring a criminal law attorney quickly can make a huge difference in obtaining evidence to substantiate your alibi, deposing potential witnesses and bringing your case to a quick resolution.