In any situation where you may be facing possible criminal charges, you should contact a lawyer before you have any discussion with police. Police often tell people that if they will just “tell us what happened” or “tell us your side of the story”, they will not be arrested or charged. While that may be true on a rare occasion, it is almost always false and no matter what you have to say, the police have already determined that they are going to cite or arrest you.
With this in mind, you should always assume that no good can come from speaking to police without an attorney. If you are arrested before you can speak with an attorney, you should refuse to answer any questions until you have spoken to an attorney. Your lawyer will then assess what you should or should not say to the police. Your lawyer can also advise you or your family and friends on the bail process.
Regardless of how serious your case may be, you are always better off hiring a lawyer immediately. Time is not on your side once a criminal investigation has begun. The investigation and prosecution process can move quickly and no matter how serious the charges you may face, the sooner your lawyer gets involved on your side the better off you will be.
For those of you who are considering representing yourself (Pro Per), you are making a big mistake. There is an old saying that goes: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client”. Don’t make that mistake. Although you have a legal right to do so, you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. Some defendants head down this path because they believe they know their case better than anyone else. While they may indeed know the facts of what occurred better than anyone, they do not know the law, court procedure, or all the other issues that can arise during the litigation of their case.
You must never forget that no matter how minor or serious your criminal case may be, a negative result can have permanent consequences. As such, you must consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney in order to ensure that you make the very best decisions in this difficult situation.
Not only should you hire a good lawyer but you should also be a good client. That means you should inform yourself and actively participate in your defense. Ask questions and be honest and straightforward with your lawyer.
You have a right to have your lawyer be honest and straightforward in return even if the news is not always what you want to hear. Everything you tell your lawyer is privileged and as such, you should not waste time trying to decide what to tell your lawyer and what to keep secret. The bottom line is that a law firm is only as good as the relationship it builds and maintains with their client. The better the relationship, the more likely that they can reach the best possible result no matter how serious the case.
Attorney Stephen G. Cline has been practicing San Diego criminal defense for 20 years. His reputation and experience will be the key to the aggressive defense of your San Diego criminal case.
Call today at (619) 235-5638 to review your specific case!