When Can (or Should) I Retain a Lawyer in a Criminal Case?
It should be common knowledge that having the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. Defendants represented by counsel generally fare better in a criminal case than those that choose to “go it alone.” Not only do criminal defendants who retain attorneys usually experience a better outcome, but the attorney’s impact is maximized the earlier he or she is retained. However, when can – or should – a criminal defendant retain an attorney’s services?
Your Right to Hire an Attorney vs. Your Right to Have an Attorney
Before going much further, it is important to distinguish between the right to hire an attorney and the right to have an attorney. A private citizen can hire a private attorney at any time – the citizen need not have any criminal case pending in order to hire a lawyer. In fact, a citizen may merely be a “person of interest” in a criminal investigation and decide to hire a lawyer. However, the right to have a lawyer whether you can afford one or not does not attach until you have been placed under arrest. At this point, you must be given the opportunity to speak with and be represented by an attorney. If you cannot afford to retain a lawyer yourself, you must be provided with a court appointed attorney.
Should I Wait Until I Am Arrested Before Hiring a Lawyer?
Knowing that you do not have a right to an attorney until you have been arrested may make it seem as if you should wait until after your arrest before contacting an attorney. This can be a mistake, however. Hiring an attorney even before you have been formally charged can help you:
- Offer a deal to cooperate with the police in return for immunity from prosecution;
- Convince the prosecution to issue a summons as opposed to an arrest warrant or negotiate a fair and affordable bond for you so you do not remain in jail for a prolonged period of time; and
- Get a head start on identifying important witnesses and pieces of evidence that will help you defend yourself against the charges.
For these reasons and others, if you suspect that you may be under criminal investigation it is never a bad idea to make an appointment and visit with a knowledgeable Florida criminal defense lawyer.
Contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Today
If you believe you may be the target of a law enforcement investigation, do not waste any time in contacting Jeffrey S. Weiner. Attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner has been serving Florida residents for years and has successfully defended clients charged with a variety of crimes. By speaking with Jeffrey S. Weiner as soon as possible, you will be able to draw upon his wisdom and experience at all stages of the criminal investigation and case. Contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. today by calling (305) 670-9919 or by contacting the firm through our website.