The old adage “penny-wise, pound foolish” applies in considering whether to hire a Raleigh criminal lawyer early in a case. That’s because many cases may be dramatically affected by hiring a lawyer early in the process – before an arrest – when the police are still gathering information, and themselves trying to figure out what to do in a matter.
In an ideal world, the moment a police officer or detective came to talk to you about a matter, you could press a button and your own criminal defense attorney could parachute into the situation to help you defend your rights.
In this world, hiring a lawyer will take initiative on your part. First, hiring a Raleigh criminal attorney early in the matter will generally save you money. Unfortunately, before you’ve been charged with a crime, you are not entitled to a public defender. Even if you may not have the money to hire a lawyer for the entire case, it almost always makes sense – both financially, and to protect your freedom and rights – to hire a lawyer before you say anything to anyone about a matter, even if you are complete innocent.
People often have trouble with that concept, believing that if they are innocent, they should have nothing to hide. Unfortunately, criminal investigations are not handled by unbiased, entirely objective and omniscient detectives. They are investigated by police officer who, however one may think of them as honorable public servants, have their own biases, prejudices, assumptions, and beliefs.
They may have been told a pack of lies by the victim or the victim’s family, and therefore believe that, no matter what you say, you are guilty of the crime.
In any case, it will almost always damage your case to give a statement prior to arrest. Hiring a lawyer can effectively protect you from giving a statement, while at the same time keeping communication lines open to law enforcement to allow the exchange of information that may stop charges from ever being made.
Finally, most people assume that hiring a criminal defense attorney early in the process is expensive. They assume that the attorney will charge some astronomical fee, like $10,000, to handle a case pre-arrest.
In very complicated cases, a large fee may be required to hire an attorney before an arrest has been made. But most pre-trial legal fees are much less expensive than you would imagine, and can end up saving a lot of money and heartache and grief down the road.