Having an experienced criminal defense attorney contact the prosecutor as early in the process as possible can make a crucial difference in the out come of a potential criminal matter. Contacting the prosecutor’s office before the prosecutor makes a decision on criminal charges can produce a very different result than waiting until after the prosecutor makes a decision on charges.
Often times, a prosecutor will only have the input of law enforcement or the person or entity making an allegation of wrongdoing at the time the decision is made regarding criminal charges. The opportunity to bring crucial facts to the prosecutor’s attention that may avoid a criminal charge, or achieve a reduced charge, may be lost by failing to get an attorney involved right away. A person suspected or arrested for wrongdoing should never make a statement to law enforcement or a prosecutor without first consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a variety of important outcomes with a prosecutor such as an agreement to delay a decision on criminal charges so that additional facts can be gathered, or an agreement that the prosecutor will not issue any criminal charges at all upon the accused completing counseling or paying restitution.
If these opportunities are squandered, it can result in a criminal charge being issued that may have otherwise been avoidable. A criminal charge becomes a public record.
Losing out on meeting with the prosecutor before a decision is made can also mean that a felony charge may be issued instead of a misdemeanor. Felony charges carry much longer potential incarceration time and significantly higher financial penalties. A felony conviction will also result in a lifetime firearms ban, a prohibition on voting, as well as a variety of other collateral consequences.
For these reasons it is crucial to get an experienced criminal defense attorney involved at the first sign that you may be under investigation. Doing so can produce a dramatically different outcome than waiting on the sideline.