Hiring an attorney before an arrest can absolutely impact the charges being made. If someone has an alibi or absolute defense to the charge, then an attorney can facilitate getting that information to the investigator so that an arrest is never made. In other types of cases, it is a matter of degree. For example, in a stalking case, a purported victim may make the situation seem significantly worse than it actually was by either saying that something happened when it, in fact, did not, or by selectively deleting messages in order to make an altercation seem much worse than it was. Ensuring that the police have all of the information they need can result in less serious charges or no charges at all.
What Does The Aggressive Pre-filing Investigation Look Like?
In terms of pre-filing investigations, it’s important to be aware of time constraints. The attorney has to determine the timetable for the investigation and identify when the investigator will make a decision regarding the charges. During pre-charging investigations, it is important to know what to look for and to be knowledgeable regarding the law and potential defenses that could be used. Depending on the case, this may involve having investigators or expert witnesses convince the police that the client is innocent, or that they cannot prove that the client is guilty.
Perhaps most importantly, a client should know that they cannot do anything that would hurt the case if it were to go forward. This means that in most instances, an interview with the police is off of the table. However, if there is information that the police should have, the attorney can provide it to them without putting their client in jeopardy.
Lastly, it is important to think creatively. In more than 95 percent of criminal cases, defense attorneys get involved following the arrest. From that point on, there is usually a pre-structured process or procedure in place. However, if an attorney is able to get involved prior to the arrest, then they will have a better opportunity to help the client by thinking creatively and taking avenues that might not otherwise be available in the criminal process.
Are There Any Pre-Arrest Or Pre-Booking Diversion Programs That Someone Can Get Into To Avoid Having Actual Charges Filed?
In Georgia, there are no pre-arrest programs that can prevent charges from being filed. However, depending upon the law enforcement officer involved and what they are looking for in the case, it may be possible to convince them out of filing charges. For example, if it is a relatively minor domestic violence case and the defendant immediately gets involved with treatment, then law enforcement agents may use their discretion to not proceed with the case if the victim agrees with this action.
Can An Attorney Intervene And Stop Any Charge From Being Filed?
An attorney can absolutely intervene and potentially stop charges from being filed except in cases involving short turnaround times, such as traffic violation cases. With more serious cases, an attorney can sometimes provide evidence that causes the investigator to dismiss the charges or not file them to begin with. For example, in the child molestation cases that we handle, a common fact pattern begins when a child makes an outcry and a detective wants to interview the client. Prior to that interview, we will try to determine the exact allegations and have the client take a polygraph test from a reputable polygraph professional who formerly worked for the FBI and who is well-respected throughout the courts. If the client passes the polygraph test, then we will provide the results to the detective. In the past, this method has allowed us to prevent child molestation charges before arrest warrants were even issued. If the client does not pass the polygraph test, then we will have to look for a different type of defense.
For more information on the Impact Of Hiring An Attorney Prior To Arrest, an Initial Case Assessment is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (678) 726-5400 today.