When to Call a Defense Attorney
Being investigated or charged with a crime can be a frightening and overwhelming experience – and one that demands proven representation. If you or your loved one is facing criminal allegations in Rhode Island, it is important to understand you have rights, and that an experienced criminal defense attorney like those at Inman & Tourgee can fight to protect those rights, your freedom, and your future at every stage of the criminal process. The only thing you have to do is call for help.
While working with a proven defense lawyer can make all the difference in your case, our legal team understands that many individuals have questions as to whether they need a private attorney and when they should be reaching out for the representation they need. While we advise anyone facing criminal charges to contact our Rhode Island criminal attorneys to learn about the ways we can leverage our criminal defense experience and insight on their behalves, we also want to provide some general information about the importance of contacting a defense attorney as soon as you can.
- You’re being investigated or have been charged – Being charged with a crime is always a reason to call a defense attorney as soon as possible. With representation from attorneys who know the process, your rights, and how to challenge the government’s case against you, you can gain a better understanding of the charges you face. You can also benefit from insight into prosecutors’ handling of charges and negotiations, as well as law enforcement protocol, which is an essential part of challenging officer conduct surrounding your arrest and determining whether any stop, search, and arrest was lawful. In addition to being charged, enlisting the help of an attorney after being made aware of an investigation is also important. By involving an attorney early on, you can have someone communicate with law enforcement officers on your behalf and intervene with pre-file negotiations to reduce or avoid charges. Whether after an investigation or the filing of former charges, immediately working with a defense attorney can help you take the right steps from the very beginning.
- You face serious penalties – When you understand the penalties you face, you have a better understanding of why it’s important to call a defense lawyer as soon as you can. While felonies are known for their life-altering penalties (ranging from lengthy prison sentences, criminal records, and even a loss of civil rights), misdemeanor allegations also come with serious short- and long-term penalties. These include terms of imprisonment, hefty fines and fees, court-ordered classes or treatment programs, probation, a criminal record, driver’s license suspension (especially in DUI cases), and a loss of certain civil rights (such as being unable to purchase or own a firearm after being convicted of crimes like domestic violence). Penalties can also be elevated if aggravating circumstances are involved (such as high BAC levels or accidents in DUI cases) or when you have prior criminal convictions. When facing penalties that threaten your freedom and your future, there is no substitute for experienced defense.
- You want a lawyer who has the resources to help – Individuals who don’t work with a private criminal defense lawyer may be left to work with public defenders. Although public defenders have admirable jobs and dedicate themselves to providing the representation defendants need when navigating the criminal justice system, it is an unfortunate fact that public defender offices across the country are notoriously overburdened, underfunded, and often staffed by younger attorneys who may lack experience handling all types of cases. In fact, one study from the National Association of Criminal Defense found public defenders were only able to devote less than 10 minutes on average to preparing a defendant’s case prior to court. By choosing to work with private defense attorneys, and especially those with extensive experience and proven track records, you can benefit from attorneys who have the time, resources, and insight required for your defense and who can make themselves available when you have questions and concerns.
The decision to work with a private criminal defense attorney is always yours to make – but you must consider both the benefits of working with an attorney during these critical proceedings, and the challenges you face when you do not. At Inman & Tourgee, our Rhode Island criminal defense lawyers are readily available to review your case during a free consultation, during which we can discuss your charges and what we can do to protect your rights and future. Whether you or a loved one are facing allegations involving DUI, drug crimes, or serious misdemeanor or felony offenses, we have the tools to help. Contact us for a FREE consultation.