If you have been questioned, charged or arrested for allegedly committing a crime, you may be wondering whether or not you need to get an attorney. Whenever you are involved in any way with the criminal process, it is very important that you get legal help from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
A primary reason to talk to a lawyer is to determine whether or not you need one. An attorney will be able to advise you regarding whether or not you might need legal help after he or she reviews the facts of what has happened or is happening in your particular situation.
It can be truly frightening to be accused of a crime if you’ve never been charged before. This may lead you to make critical decisions when you do not even know or understand what is going on. Making the wrong one can negatively impact you for the remainder of your life.
While it is overwhelming, being arrested does not mean that your life is over as you know it. Hire a lawyer who can help you through the process. Robert J. Hickey is an experienced attorney who is able to help you to understand every step while also zealously fighting for your rights. We are the leading criminal defense law firm in Orange County and are prepared to help you no matter what your charge might be.
The most frequently asked questions about criminal defense
What if I am innocent of what I’m being accused of doing?
If you didn’t do whatever it is that you have been charged with, it is very important for you to get help from a criminal defense lawyer in Orange County now. Innocent people are sometimes still wrongfully convicted, and you don’t want to take that chance.
In some cases, prosecutors and police try to push cases through as quickly as possible. This can lead innocent people to be found guilty because the state failed to fully investigate. The only way in which you can help to tell your story and make certain that your rights are protected in court is to get help from a defense attorney who can fight for you.
What if I am just being investigated but I have not been charged?
If you are currently being investigated for possible involvement in a criminal offense, it is important for you to get legal representation now. Police and prosecutors sometimes make mistakes when they choose to file charges. You should never assume that officers will act fairly when they are deciding whether or not to charge you. If you have a lawyer’s help, he or she can make certain that all of the favorable evidence is investigated and preserved. He or she may then be able to inform the prosecutor and the police of the mitigating evidence in order to persuade them that you should not be charged. Many times, it is easier to convince prosecutors that people shouldn’t be charged than it is to convince them to dismiss charges after they have already filed them.
The police have asked if they could talk to me. Should I agree?
Never make any statement to police. You have the constitutional right to remain silent. This right includes the right to politely refuse any questioning. This means just simply assert your rights, don’t talk and refuse to sign anything. Police don’t ask people to come in for questioning unless they need to build more evidence for an arrest.
Police are trained to use deception during their investigations. They may tell you things like if you talk, they won’t arrest you. That is simply not true, but police are allowed to lie. If you do talk, your words will be used against you in court, and they may be twisted around.
What do I do if charges have already been filed against me?
After you have hired your defense lawyer, he or she will analyze the facts of what happened in your case, including the strength of the evidence that is being used against you. Your attorney will try to determine whether it appears that the prosecutor will be able to prove his or her case against you. Sometimes prosecutors believe that their cases are stronger than they really are. When a skilled criminal defense lawyer shows them the weaknesses of their cases, the prosecutors may be convinced that they need to dismiss them.
If your lawyer determines that the evidence against you is very strong, he or she may then try to decide whether it is in your best interest to negotiate a plea or to go to jury trial. Your lawyer will advise you of the chance that you will be successful at trial. If that is what you want to do, your lawyer will work with you in order to build the strongest defense case available to you, focusing on persuading the jury that reasonable doubt exists concerning your guilt.
Your defense attorney may use a number of different tools to evaluate the winnability of your case, including the following:
Investigate the case
Your lawyer may hire private investigators to investigate the evidence the police have gathered against you. The defense investigators may also work to gather evidence that helps to prove your innocence. To do so, the investigator may locate and interview witnesses and look for evidence pointing to dishonesty on the part of your accuser.
During the course of your case, your attorney may recommend that you allow him or her to hire an expert witness. Experts are sometimes needed in order to evaluate medical and scientific evidence that prosecutors might use, including DNA, forensic evidence, ballistic evidence, fingerprint evidence, psychiatric reports and others.
If there are problems with the prosecutor’s case against you, your lawyer may file certain constitutional motions. If he or she is successful at a motions hearing, unfavorable evidence may be suppressed, your case could be dismissed, the prosecutor may agree to a favorable settlement or you may establish a defense that can win.
Evaluating how any DNA evidence was collected and how it was tested
IF there is DNA evidence in your case, your lawyer is likely to carefully look at it. DNA evidence is anything that is being used against you that contains human DNA. DNA can be used both as evidence tying you to a crime as well as evidence clearing you of it. It is unique to each individual and can be collected from the scene of a crime.
After police collect DNA evidence, they enter the sample and run it against a database of known offenders. If the police do not find a match, they may then ask for a warrant from a judge in order to collect samples from any suspects they may have. The DNA samples are collected by swabbing the inside of your cheeks. DNA evidence has the potential to convict or to exonerate you. If you have questions about how it might affect you, schedule an appointment with attorney Robert J. Hickey today.
If you have been charged or are being investigated for a crime, don’t wait. It is important for you to get the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call us at the leading criminal defense law firm in Orange County today to schedule your consultation.