Facing criminal charges as an innocent person is one of the worst things that a person can experience. First and foremost, it is crucial to retain an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer right away. The sooner you do, the better the odds are of avoiding a guilty plea or verdict because your attorney has many more options at his disposal early in the process.
Nipping Charges in the Bud Before a Filing Decision
The vast majority of the time, prosecutors must base their filing decisions on very limited information. At most, they may have a police report at their disposal–and it’s often just a preliminary report at that. Such reports are often riddled with misinformation, including misstatements from witnesses and erroneous information from law enforcement due to bias or misinformation. Sometimes, a minor fact that’s misconstrued or misrepresented in such a report can be the basis for the entire case. If it’s plainly clear that the charges are bogus, you may be tempted to go ahead and let it go to trial. This is a bad move as trials are expensive, stressful and risky. A good Fort Worth criminal defense attorney will try to nip things in the bud at this stage.
Intervening Before Charges are Filed
One of the top advantages of hiring an experienced lawyer when facing criminal charges is that they will have connections with law enforcement and the courts and can use them to potentially prevent charges from being filed in the first place. Indeed, pretrial communication between your attorney, the arresting officer and the prosecutor could put an end to the situation long before it goes to trial. The odds are long, but it is still worth a shot.
The trick here is acting in a timely manner, which means retaining an attorney as quickly as possible. That way, they might be able to explain the situation and keep your case from ever going to court. If you hold off on hiring an attorney until the charges have been filed, you won’t have the opportunity to explore this option. In a situation like this, it’s crucial to have as many options at your disposal as possible, so hire a lawyer at the first sign of trouble.
Trying for a Dismissal
Most of the time, defendants must wait until charges are filed before their attorneys can get involved. Just because charges are filed doesn’t mean that a trial is inevitable, however. As a defendant, you can sit down and explain your side to your attorney. Your attorney may then decide to immediately start performing their own investigation and start gathering evidence on your behalf. If, as a result of these efforts, they feel like dismissal is warranted, they may be able to approach the prosecution and try to persuade them to dismiss the charges. This is far more likely to work when you have a lawyer who is experienced with the local court system.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, sometimes the best course of action is for the defense to do nothing at all. If the charges are truly bogus and you are innocent, the prosecution could still ultimately determine that there isn’t enough evidence for a conviction. The process can take several months, however, and it will be stressful for you in the meantime.
A number of early in-court proceedings could also put a swift end to your case. For example, your criminal defense lawyer might win a crucial pretrial motion that ruins the prosecution’s odds of winning a conviction. One very common tactic is to ask the court to suppress evidence that was illegally obtained. There are very strict rules about how evidence may be gathered, and a skilled attorney can often prove to the court that such rules were broken. In that case, the court must agree to suppress. If the evidence forms the backbone of the prosecution’s case, they will likely give up. In a felony case, your attorney might win the preliminary hearing, and the prosecutor might decide not to bother re-filing. Either way, these are all opportunities to put an end to the charges against you long before a plea agreement is suggested or the case goes to trial.
Retain an Experienced Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges–whether they have been filed yet or not–an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer from the Law Office of Bryan P. Hoeller can help. Call (877) 208-3382 today.