It does not matter whether or not you have been arrested or charged with a crime. It is imperative that you have a Dallas criminal lawyer every step of the way
People ask Dallas criminal lawyer John Helms all the time if they need a lawyer if the police are investigating them, but no charges have been filed. Sometimes, people think that they can just go talk to a detective themselves and convince the detective that they are innocent.
The answer is that you should ALWAYS consult with a lawyer if you are being investigated, and you should NEVER talk to a detective without a criminal defense attorney if you are a suspect. Here is why:
First, a lawyer can evaluate your potential exposure and whether it is really in your interest to talk to the police at this point. Many people make the mistake of talking themselves into thinking that an investigation might just go away. A top criminal lawyer knows better.
One of the things I consider when meeting with a client is whether the police have already made up their minds. If they have, then talking to them will not help YOU, but it will help the police to find out what your explanation will be and possibly to pin down your story. That makes a prosecutor’s job much easier.
Another thing to consider is whether law enforcement will agree that they will not use anything you tell them against you. At the federal level, this is common. This kind of agreement is known as a “proffer” agreement. These agreements are complicated and can be negotiated. You need a lawyer to help you navigate this.
Second, if you are going to meet with law enforcement, a lawyer can prepare you for it. If you are unfamiliar with police interrogations, you can easily get tripped up, say things that you may not mean, or say things that might sound evasive to the ears of a suspicious detective. I have seen it many times.
Third, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will know what kinds of facts and evidence are persuasive to law enforcement. A good lawyer should be able to do a much better job than you at assembling evidence and information and presenting it to law enforcement in the best possible light. This gives you the best chance of persuading the officer or agent that you really are not guilty.
One thing I have heard a lot of people say is, “Won’t they just assume I am guilty if I get a lawyer?” This thinking is very shortsighted. Chances are, they already think you are guilty, so having a lawyer is not going to make them think differently. More importantly, though, the importance of having a lawyer FAR outweighs any possibility that a detective might become more suspicious. The key, though, is to hire a lawyer that law enforcement will respect. If you hire a lawyer they think is sleazy, they will assume the lawyer is just going to try to pull a fast one, and they will not believe anything the lawyer tells them.
One more thing: Some people think it is a good idea to try to get a lawyer to give them a “free consultation,” hoping that the lawyer will tell them everything they need to know for free, and then they will be able to handle everything themselves. Remember this: You get what you pay for. Before a criminal defense lawyer can give you good advice, the lawyer needs to spend time to understand the facts and what the police think happened. That takes a lot more time and effort than what you are going to get in a “free consultation.” And if you think one consultation will give you the knowledge, experience, and judgment of the best criminal defense lawyers, then you need a consultation of another kind.
A criminal investigation is extremely serious. Don’t go looking for a cut-rate lawyer or trying to get something for free. Treat it like your freedom depends on it, because it very well may.
If you, a family member or someone you know has been charged with a crime or have been convicted and need help with an appeal in the Dallas area, contact Dallas criminal lawyer John Helms at (214) 666-8010 or fill out the online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and freedom.