By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
When is it time to get a lawyer?
That’s an excellent question. There are two main reasons to hire a lawyer immediately after an arrest. The first is to advise you during a police investigation and the second is to assist you in securing a release from jail.
Legal Advice During a Police Investigation
Arrests happen different ways — from a traffic stop, an arrest warrant, or at the scene of an incident or altercation just to name a few.
Police Investigations Prior to Arrest
Often the police will investigate a crime prior to applying for an arrest warrant. In doing their investigation, they may call the accused and request they participate in voluntary interviews, searches, or even biological testing. It is always a good idea to have a lawyer involved if this is the case. Experienced counsel can property help you navigate the investigation and it is very dangerous to try and do so alone.
Police Investigations After an Arrest
In Dallas and Collin County state criminal cases, the vast majority of police work and investigation is done at the scene of the arrest. In most DWI stops and/or drug arrests the police do most of their work on the road-side. There is brief follow-up at the police station (a breath test and/or an interview), but once the person is booked-in to jail, any investigation is usually over.
For the timing reasons alone, it is extremely difficult to involve an attorney quickly enough to provide much useful counsel in these situations. Usually an experienced criminal defense attorney, if involved quickly enough, will generally advise someone arrested not to participate in any interviews or voluntary searches.
Assisting in Jail Release
Attorneys can help people get released on most DWI’s, thefts, and marijuana cases from the Plano City Jail or the Frisco City Jail in Collin County. Generally, though, an attorney may be of limited value in securing release from jail. Once a person is arrested then they are entitled to see a magistrate judge who sets the bond (if the bond isn’t pre-set from an arrest warrant). At that point the bond can be paid for the person to be released. Often a bail bond company is consulted where the amount of the bond is too expensive for the friends or family members of the accused to pay. Some attorneys are bail bondsman but most are not. Always make sure you understand whether your are dealing with an attorney, a bondsman, or both and make sure they explain to you everything involved and everything they are responsible for. The accused can hire an attorney to assist in getting the bond amount reduced as well.
Once the case proceeds after the arrest stage and formal charges are filed, it is always a good idea to have your attorney represent you in the future court proceedings.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas.