For those of you with busy schedules, here’s the short answer: as soon as possible. If you’ve been charged with a crime, a criminal defense lawyer is a crucial ally to have in every step of the process. Even if you have not been charged and you have only been considered a suspect, you need to make the call. If you want to vastly increase your chances of a positive outcome, contact an Oakland criminal lawyer as soon as you can.
Here’s why—when you are charged with a crime, the investigation against you has already begun. As a suspect, you are immediately put on your heels, unprepared and caught off-guard. The first thing that a criminal defense attorney can do is immediately begin a counter-investigation to prove your innocence and make sure your side of the story is backed by and strong evidence. An attorney will know what evidence will serve your case.
Ask yourself a question: do you know any expert investigators? Do you know how to prevent evidence tampering? Are you experienced with hiring the right expert witnesses for your case? If the answer to any of these questions is not “yes,” then you need to contact a criminal attorney. An experienced lawyer has these resources and more at his or her disposal—the odds are that you do not. Make sure a professional handles your fate.
Even if you are facing conviction, hiring a criminal defense attorney at a late stage in the process is crucial. Good lawyers understand their state’s criminal law code, including alternative or reduced sentences. Knowledge of the Oakland courts, the law, and the judge is part of what makes a lawyer an invaluable resource. You can drastically reduce your sentence by consulting with a lawyer on your case, even after a trial has begun.
The criminal justice system works by providing two sides that will do their best to prove their sides of the story. Through robust investigation and brutal testing of all the facts, the truth will bear out—at least in theory. However, this system requires robust investigation on both sides—defense attorneys are as crucial here as prosecutors.
If you forego your right to an attorney—a right the founding fathers believed was worth placing in the foundation of our nation’s laws—you run the risk of being unjustly overrun by the prosecution. Their job is to prove your guilt, regardless of what you might believe is true. For the criminal justice system to work, you need to hire a defense lawyer to represent you in court just as relentlessly, protecting your rights with skill.