Asking to Speak With An Attorney in Prince William, VA
Below, Prince William County criminal lawyer Matthew Crowley discusses when you should contact legal representation and what advantages an attorney can bring to your case. For more specific information regarding your case, call today and schedule a consultation.
Does Speaking With An Attorney Imply Guilt?
Absolutely not. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, guarantee an individual a right to consult with an attorney at every phase of a criminal case. In fact, it is forbidden for there to be any mention that an individual asked for counsel or that they refused to answer questions in the course of a criminal trial.
Thus, people should feel comfortable in asserting their rights and should, in fact, tell an officer that they want to speak to an attorney rather than ever answering their questions beyond simply giving their name and identifying themselves.
When to Contact An Attorney
There’s not usually going to be an opportunity for an individual to contact a lawyer during the course of an arrest, so typically the first opportunity someone will have to contact counsel is after they have been processed and released from the jail and/or given access to a telephone.
That may not occur right away and in many cases, it makes sense for friends or family to reach out to an attorney to arrange a jail visit before the accused is released.
Importance of an Attorney Before Charges are Filed
It’s important to talk to an attorney when you’re contacted by law enforcement because a lawyer is going to be able to advise you as to what you should or should not say and, of course, in most cases will encourage you to say nothing. In addition, they will also be able to tell you what steps you may proactively wish to take before a charge is even brought.
There are often things that an individual can do or a lawyer can do either to head off charges being filed or to impact the kinds of charges that are made in a way that is positive or favorable to the client. Therefore, until the client and the lawyer have an opportunity to speak about the factual situation the client is at a significant disadvantage as they move forward with the possibility of a charge being made looming in the background.
Advantages of Private Defense Counsel
There are numerous advantages that a private defense attorney brings to one’s case. The first is that they have many more resources at their disposal and that includes everything from the ability to consult with other experience private practice attorneys to the investigative resources that are available at a law firm.
Another advantage of hiring a private defense attorney is that your counsel will have more time and more focus on your individual case and generally has fewer cases that he or she is working on which allows them to bring all of the time and attention to your matter that it needs and deserves.