The criminal process begins when someone is accused of committing a crime. Unless a police officer personally witnesses the crime, an investigation must take place in most instances before law enforcement may place an arrest and take someone into custody. If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime but not yet charged, now is the time to hire a criminal law firm to help with the defense process. A Pre-file Investigation is when a criminal defense attorney represents a client in an early stage of the criminal process, before formal charges are actually filed by a prosecutor. The primary goal of the pre-file is to prevent the filing of any criminal charges against the person being accused.
Shockingly, many criminal lawyers do not offer this service! Some criminal lawyers may provide you with the worst possible advice, telling you to wait until you are charged before hiring a criminal attorney. Such attorneys provide this horrible advice because they are ignorant as to the importance of the investigation process and how successful the defense can be, or because they simply know they can charge a lot more in legal fees when criminal charges are actually filed. Unlike those attorneys, our main concern is always doing what’s in our client’s best interest, even if that means charging less in legal fees. Based on our extremely high success rate with pre-files, we understand the importance and effectiveness of getting involved early and we know the chances of keeping you out of court and out of jail are much higher when we are involved during the investigation stage.
District Attorneys (Prosecutors) are mainly concerned with their track record. Their win/loss record is usually what is most important to them. Therefore, most prosecutors decide to press charges against someone if they are confident that they have a strong case against that person. Their confidence is based on the evidence that they have against someone, and that evidence is gathered during the pre-file investigation stage of the criminal process. During this stage, prosecutors and detectives are accustomed to dealing directly with those who are not represented by a criminal lawyer. This makes it extremely easy for the detectives to gather statements, confessions and other evidence and build a strong case against someone who is not properly defended.
The moment detectives are contacted by a criminal attorney, everything changes. Stewart & Schmidlin prepares your defense as thoroughly and carefully as possible, as if we were preparing for trial. You will have an aggressive defense on your side to help prove your innocence or minimize the damage, before an actual criminal charge has been filed against you. We will point out the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and aggressively present your defense in an effort to come to an informal resolution without ever seeing a court room. It is common for those who are accused of crimes such as embezzlement, fraud, theft, molestation, sex with a minor, lewd acts with a minor, hit and run, assault, terrorist threats and crimes on school campus to retain our criminal law firm before the police are even involved. In these cases we are often able to deal directly with alleged victims, families involved, employers, or whoever is making the accusation and persuade them to never even contact the police.
Detectives and law enforcement are experts at manipulating others to get what they want. They will threaten, deceive and trick you to make the statements necessary to build a case against you. They may lie to you and nonchalantly request you come in for questioning, informing you that there is nothing for you to worry about. They may go as far threatening you with harsher sentences and charges if you don’t cooperate immediately. They employ these tactics on a daily basis and know EXACTLY how to get you to say what they want. In fact, in some instances it’s perfectly legal for them to lie to you in order to get you to confess to a crime. If you’re at home or at the police station but not “in custody”, they don’t even have to read you your rights before interrogating you. No matter how weak the case against you may be, if you make an incorrect statement that statement may be just enough to put you in prison for a very long time. However, if you have a professional expert criminal defense attorney, everything changes. You no longer have to say a word to the police; the attorney can speak on your behalf and say precisely the right thing to defend you.
Waiting until formal charges are filed is the most common mistake our criminal lawyers hear about it, and by the time a person has realized they’ve made that mistake, it’s too late. Please don’t gamble with your freedom. If you’ve been accused of a crime but not yet charged, call us immediately so we can develop a plan of action to prevent charges from ever be file in court.