Criminal Defense: A Practical Guide

You, a loved one or a friend has been accused of a crime. Perhaps you are frightened of the consequences. Perhaps you are angry that somebody had the nerve to accuse you of a crime. You call up an attorney and want to hear something, anything that may put your mind at ease. You may know some of the facts involved, so you tell the attorney, hoping he or she will tell you it will all go away.

But the overwhelming majority of the time, this is only the beginning of a process, a defense, that will take time to develop. I say that not to agitate you any further. But as any competent criminal defense attorney knows, what you know or may think you know, is only part of the story. A competent criminal defense attorney needs to obtain discovery, that is police reports, witness statements and review all the evidence, physical and otherwise, BEFORE he or she can give you any advice worth anything. Any initial advice you receive over the phone is not worthless, but it is just preliminary. An competent criminal defense attorney needs time, and any initial advice is subject to change over time, as the attorney learns more about the case.

That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind during the initial phase of an investigation or having been accused of a crime.

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