Preserving evidence, interviewing potential witnesses, documenting relevant locations, negotiating cooperation, and coordinating turn-ins are all services that an attorney can provide even before charges are formally filed. A lawyer can minimize or eliminate much of the uncertainty and apprehension associated with knowing that a person is being investigated for a criminal offense. Once law enforcement is notified that a lawyer represents an individual, they may not attempt to communicate with the individual and must instead, go through the attorney. The attorney serves as a buffer between law enforcement and the suspect.
A proactive approach is the best approach. Many investigations take days, weeks and even months to complete before charges are actually filed. During the pending investigation a person suspected of a criminal offense should be proactive in maximizing the opportunity to mount an effective defense in the event charges do get filed. This requires obtaining witness statements, documenting relevant locations and weather convictions and ensuring any video or audio recordings are properly preserved. A lawyer knowledgeable in representing a defendant before charges are filed can immediately put together a pre-charge investigation that is imperative to preserve potentially crucial evidence that may have been missed or even ignored by law enforcement.
Another function a qualified lawyer can serve before charges are filed is to act as a go-between between the suspect and law enforcement and/or the prosecution. Cooperation with the authorities is always an option and is commonly presented by law enforcement during narcotics investigations. Some are willing to cooperate, others are not. If a person elects to cooperate with law enforcement, having an enforceable cooperation agreement is imperative to ensure that any cooperation provided is honored by law enforcement. Absent a formal agreement, law enforcement is free to use the person for cooperation purposes and then still turn around and file the charges against them after they are no longer useful.
Coordinate Speedy Release
In the event that an individual elects not to cooperate, often time an arrest warrant is issued once charges are filed. When this happens, the person charged can be arrested anywhere, at any time. Many are fearful that they will be arrested at work, in front of employees, or worst yet, at home, in front of their children. Often times an attorney can contact law enforcement, be notified when the warrant is finally issued, and coordinate with the defendants surrender to authorities. This minimizes the embarrassment associated with being publicly arrested and equally important, allows the person being charged to coordinate and secure bail before being turned in, thereby minimizing their time in jail before being released.