I'm frequently contacted by individuals that have been subject of some police attention. These are folks who may have contacted by the police, interviewed by the police or had the unpleasant experience of police officers stopping by their home or business, and wanting to “ask a few questions.” This is the kind of personal attention, obviously, that no one wants or needs. Depending on the circumstances, this unwanted attention may warrant the hiring of Maryland criminal defense counsel. The investigation stage is a point in the process an individual is the target or focus of a law enforcement investigation, or of interest, but formal charges have not yet been filed, or an indictment has not been obtained. There are three situations in which I would recommend hiring defense during the investigation stage.
The Police Want to Interview You.
If a person that is the subject of an investigation has been asked by the police to answer some questions, it is necessary to have counsel. Note this is a two- step process. If, after an initial consultation with counsel, it is decided that speaking to police is indeed in the individual's best interest, I would suggest it's virtually mandatory to have police question the individual only in the presence of counsel.
Evidence Needs to Be Preserved
Where there is evidence that might be lost destroyed, or otherwise dissipate, it often makes sense to get an attorney immediately involved in the case. The attorney can take steps to preserve, secure, and otherwise begin to assemble, assess and analyze this evidence in a manner that best serves the client's defense.
Complex Cases Involving Expert Testimony
In a similar fashion, where any potential Maryland prosecution is likely to involve complex, detailed or unusual scientific, medical, business, tax or technical matters, it often makes sense to employ experienced defense counsel before the formal bringing of charges. In cases involving these issues, a head start on the prosecution can be in invaluable. In these types of cases, getting a defense expert or experts involved early on in the process is often in the client's best interest.
Of course, the essential, overarching question in all of these scenarios is: does it make financial sense to incur legal fees for a defense that might ultimately not be necessary? In other words, if the charges are not actually brought has the suspected person squandered money by beginning to prepare a defense? I urge those confronting the situation to employ a balancing test, wherein the individual suspect must weigh their financial resources, their informed judgment as to the likelihood that charges will be filed on the one hand, and on the other, the nature and magnitude of the alleged offense and the potential sentence if charges are brought.