5 Signs You Need To Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney in Benton
The criminal justice system is notoriously difficult to navigate without a legal guide. Even if you’re innocent of the crime you’re accused of, you can fall prey to technicalities or lose track of paperwork, court dates, or other crucial details. And don’t get us started on trying to cross-examine yourself! What a nightmare.
And while you – and we! – obviously hope that you never need a criminal defense attorney, there are some situations where hiring a defense lawyer is just the smart choice. Let’s go over the top six signs that it’s time to hire a criminal defense attorney in Benton (or anywhere else for that matter).
1. Routine Questioning Is Becoming Intrusive
It is not unusual to be questioned by the police at some point in your life – especially if you find yourself in an area where a crime has been committed. While you don’t have to do more than identify yourself, you may want to help and end up answering some routine questions about what you heard or saw during the time of the crime. However, your should remember that you are never required to speak to the police if you do not want to.
If routine questions start to become more pointed, or the police are questioning you multiple times about the same subject, that’s a sign that they may consider you a suspect in this crime. Trust your gut, and as soon as you feel even slightly uncomfortable exercise your right to remain silent and call an attorney.
2. The Police Ask You to “Come In” For Questioning
It could be the case that the police just want to ask you some questions in an environment that encourages honesty, or that they want to record your answers to their questions to make sure they have all their information and evidence lined up correctly. But when a police officer asks you to come to the station, it is often an indication that they want to question you more seriously. It may even indicate that they believe you’ve committed a crime and they’re hoping to throw you off balance or hold you at the station.
As long as you are not under arrest, you are not required to go with a policeman to the station. We’ll say that again because it is very important. If you are NOT UNDER ARREST, you are NOT REQUIRED to go with a policeman to the station, or anywhere else. Do not let anyone tell you that it makes you look guilty to refuse to answer questions without a lawyer present. We respect the police, but there are cases of police interrogations and requests that violate your civil rights.
There is nothing wrong with having someone present during questioning who has your best interests as their first priority. Having a criminal defense attorney present can save you from accidentally incriminating or implicating yourself.
3. The Police Showed Up At Your Home or Work
Sometimes a crime is committed in your neighborhood and the police will canvas the area and knock on neighbors’ doors. This is about the only time that you should speak to a police officer in your home without a lawyer present (and honestly, you could even call us then).
If a police officer shows up at your place of work this should be a BIG red flag. It could be that they were just in the area, or that they couldn’t wait for the workday to be over to question you. But showing up at your place of work is a power move. It alerts people to their presence in your life, puts you in a bad spot with your boss, interrupts your livelihood, and is likely to catch you completely off guard. You are completely within your rights to say, “I am at work right now, and I cannot talk to you. Please call me if you have any questions.”
If you’ve been questioned previously, or if they come to your home or place of work and start to question you about your whereabouts on specific days or times, it is likely that the police are investigating you for a crime – or at least consider you a suspect. If this is the case, get ahead of the situation and hire a criminal defense attorney in Benton (or anywhere else you may be).
Your attorney will be able to advise you of your rights and make sure they are not violated by the police – intentionally or otherwise. For instance, you are not required to allow the police in your home. If they ask “May we come in?” the answer, in our opinion, should always be a resounding “No. We can speak outside.”
Remember that the police are not allowed to search your home without a warrant, but they are allowed to pursue any “evidence” or “criminal activity” that they can see with their naked eyes once they’re inside.
Have a picture of you with the victim on your mantle (never mind that you haven’t seen them since college!)? Now that’s going to be mentioned on the witness stand and make you look guilty! And it all could have been avoided if you’d just called your defense attorney.
Are we starting to get repetitive? Good.
4. You’ve Been Arrested
Okay, now this is going to feel very obvious but if you have been arrested in Benton, please call a criminal defense attorney in Benton. Pretty please. Because if you’ve been arrested, the chances are very high that you are about to be charged with a crime.
The police may try to question you once you’re at the station, but before they do, they are required to read you a Miranda Warning – which advises you of your right to remain silent and to consult with an attorney. Exercise your rights! Remain silent! Call a criminal defense attorney! Even if you’re not currently being questioned, go ahead and call your attorney so you can start working on your defense.
5. You’ve Been Charged With A Crime
Now, this is even more obvious than the previous section, but if you have been charged with a crime – whether misdemeanor or felony, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney. A strong defense may be what keeps you out of jail of gets the charges dismissed altogether.
You are entitled to a public defender, but if there is any way you can afford it, you are much better off hiring your own attorney. Although public defenders so their best and we respect them and their service to the justice system greatly, the reality is that they are often the most inexperienced and the most overloaded with cases. It’s just not usually possible for them to provide you with the same quality of defense you get when you hire a local, experienced, specialized, criminal defense attorney in Benton.
So to wrap up in a very simple and easy-to-remember motto: If you think you need a criminal defense attorney…you probably do.
The moment you start to get nervous, go ahead and give us a call or contact the Digby Law Firm online. Remember – the sooner you call us, the better we can advise you and build your defense to keep you from being arrested or charged in the first place.