In the criminal setting, you should consult and hire an attorney any time you are the focus of an investigation. Whether you have been stopped in a car and the police inform you that there is a warrant, or that they want to speak to you……usually prior to your arrest. You need an attorney. You need an attorney when a search warrant has been issued for your premises or your papers. When you are the focus of an investigation the police and the prosecution are seldom your friend.
You need an attorney to provide you with advice and to make sure that your rights are protected. You must remember that any criminal case is captioned either the People of the state of Michigan or United States of America verses YOU. Just think about this, the State of Michigan has a budget of 54 Billion dollars with literally thousands of police, detectives and prosecutors who are against you. The United States of America has a budget of 3.9 Trillion dollars, it has at its disposal the largest Army, Navy, Air Force in the world, an FBI, DEA, a Justice department and this is who you are up against.
Your only protection is your criminal defense attorney and piece of paper written hundreds of years ago, which embodies the people’s contract with the government setting forth your rights from government oppression. The founding fathers knew all too well the power of the King of England and the government in power.
One of our basic protections is the sixth amendment. Although there are numerous jokes about lawyers and “kill all the lawyers” the founding fathers thought that the right to a criminal attorney was so important that they put your right to have an attorney in the constitution as a protection from Governmental oppression and overreach. No other profession is mentioned in the constitution, that is how important your criminal attorney is. The protection of an attorney is found in the bill of Rights added to the constitution in Amendment VI states as follows.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. The need for a criminal defense attorney is no joke. It is essential that you know your rights, know the law, understand the evidence against you, understand the penalty and potential sentence. An experienced attorney is needed to gather information and witnesses in your defense and to be able to effectively cross exam the witnesses against. As you can see and experienced trial attorney is absolutely necessary for the help you need in the life altering event of a criminal case against you.
As an attorney, I can tell you one of the most important rights you have is to remain silent. The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Statements to the police can be twisted, taken out of context or just plain misreported or worse. Again, the founding fathers understood the power of the government and the police all too well. The Fifth Amendment states as follows.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
This right is the first right and first advise I would give to any client if I was called by a client who was the focus of an investigation. YOU can always give a statement after you talk to an attorney, no matter how the police tell you different. The police know the importance of you not speaking to an attorney and how they want a statement from you that you are not required to give by law. DO NOT WAIT FOR YOUR MIRANDA WARNINGS. If you think the Miranda will help you out, you are mistaken. The law protecting you has dramatically been reduced. Just tell the investigator, the police or detectives that you have nothing to say until you have a chance to speak to an attorney.