Working With a Criminal Defense Attorney in Washington, DC

If you have been accused or charged with a criminal offense and are now seeking legal representation, here is what you should know about hiring a criminal defense attorney in DC. To learn more or discuss your case in more detail, call today and schedule a free consultation.

Do You Have The Right To Speak With An Attorney Before You Are Arrested?

You have the right to decline to answer questions from the police at any point, whether or not you’ve been arrested.  And the US constitution says that you cannot be penalized for doing that, meaning the police cannot do anything to you because you’ve asserted your rights.  The catch is that you don’t always need to be informed of this right before getting questioned. Until you are actually placed in custody, the police do not need to inform you that you can decline to answer their questions. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your rights in all situations and talk to a lawyer before answering any questions so you can be sure that you understand what you are doing and understand what kind of investigation is going on. A lawyer can also help you understand your rights so you don’t unknowingly incriminate yourself.

When During The Criminal Process Can I Consult With A Lawyer?

You can contact an attorney even before the police have asked you a single question.  Even if you think that you might at some point in the future be the subject of a criminal investigation, talking to a lawyer as early as possible can help you ensure that you don’t accidentally say or do something that would incriminate you or make your situation worse.

What Are The Benefits To Working With a Private Law Office?

Washington DC is fortunate to have one of the best public defender systems in the country; however, you need to meet some income requirements to be eligible to have the court appoint you an attorney. In the event that you do qualify for court appointed counsel hiring private counsel may still be in your best interest. Having a lawyer who you’ve chosen and hired creates a personal relationship and mutual trust because you’ve had a chance to shop around, you’ve had a chance to find someone you connect with and believe will best represent your interest most effectively.  Finally in the event that you haven’t been arrested yet, a private defense attorney can provide you with representation before you are even eligible to receive assistance from a public defender.

What Advantages Does a Private Defense Attorney Bring To My Case?

A private defense attorney can give you the kind of personal relationship and the kind of personalized attention that you might not be able to get from lawyer whom the court has appointed to you.  You have that additional level of trust, and you have that understanding knowing that you have the backing of an attorney who you chose as opposed to having them chosen for you.

Additionally if you hire an attorney in a law firm you are getting the combined experience of every attorney in that law firm because your individual lawyer can consult with the other attorneys in the firm, brainstorm different strategies and you get the benefit of the experience of the entire law firm and not just one individual lawyer.  Hiring a law firm also gets you added resources such as researchers, law clerks and investigators that may not be available to most solo practitioners.

What Are Some Things An Attorney Will Want to Know About Their Clients?

The first thing that many attorney’s will ask a potential client is to tell them what happened from their perspective.  Once this information is given, the attorney is likely already thinking about possible defense, and will ask possible follow-up questions to get more information that they can use to explore these defense later on.

From there a lawyer ask them about any prior contacts they may have with the criminal system.  They will also want to know about their job, school, and family history or anything that they might believe would be relevant. Overall a lawyer will want to get a full picture of a potential client so they can let them know their options, possible best and worst case scenarios and what they can do to help them.

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