When is the best time to hire a criminal defense attorney? Many people facing criminal charges do not become aware of being the subject of an investigation until after the police arrest them. An attorney retained while a criminal case is under investigation has the advantage of being able help the client to avoid common mistakes such as making statements to law enforcement or consenting to searches for evidence.
A shooting in Fort Worth, Texas, that left a man from Burleson dead and the gunman free is an example of a case where a defense attorney could be retained early in the investigation to protect a suspect’s rights. According to police, the two men, who were brothers-in-law, were driving with their wives when the shooting victim got into an argument with one of the women. This led to a fight between the two men that ended with the shooting of the Burleson man. The police released the victim’s brother-in-law while the investigation continues.
The role of a criminal defense attorney during the investigation stage of a criminal case differs from his role after criminal charges are filed against his client. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the evidence to determine if cooperation with law enforcement during the investigation is in his client’s best interest. If it is not, the client can be advised of his rights and counseled about how to conduct himself during the investigation.
When the facts of a case indicate the possibility of a defense such as self-defense, the criminal defense attorney will seek to discover evidence supporting the client’s account of how the incident occurred. If successful, the attorney may be able to avoid charges being filed against his client.
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Burleson man shot and killed on North Freeway in Fort Worth,” Domingo Ramirez Jr., July 22, 2012