In all honesty, it’s never too early to call a criminal defense lawyer in Austin. If you’re arrested, things can feel chaotic, confusing, and out of your control. Having the assistance of a lawyer from the very beginning will ensure your constitutional rights are known and protected.
Here are a few other times when calling a criminal defense attorney is the best idea.
If You’re Called in for Police Questioning
If a police investigator calls you and asks you to come in for questioning, it’s time to call a criminal defense lawyer in Austin. The fact is, answering a few simple questions can actually cause a lot of damage to your case. The police are well trained and know how to get you to say what they want to hear. However, a criminal defense lawyer is trained to read between the lines of police questioning and help you know when to answer and when to “plead the fifth.”
If You’ve Been Served a Search Warrant
If the police serve you with a search warrant, it’s time to call a criminal defense lawyer. If you don’t, your home, car, or computer could be searched, usually without any warning. Instead, ask the police officers to hold off their search until your attorney arrives. Your attorney will review the warrant and make sure the police only search where they are allowed under the order and ensure they don’t make any constitutional violations.
For Your First Court Appearance
Your first appearance before a judge (arraignment) is when you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the offense charge. At this time, the judge may consider any bail requests made by you or the prosecutor and may also ask you to “waive time” (give up your right to have the trial or other proceedings occur within specified time periods).
While you may feel you are able to handle your arraignment without a criminal defense lawyer, it’s not advisable. That’s because you are making judgment calls regarding your future, probably without fully understanding what is being asked of you or knowing the consequences.
If You’re Facing Jail Time
If you’re facing jail time, it’s so important to have a criminal defense lawyer that the court will appoint you legal counsel if you qualify and haven’t hired your own. Another route that some defendants take is to hire a family member or friend who is an attorney, but who works in another area of law. Even if either of these options is available to you, hiring your own personal criminal defense lawyer is the way to go. A lawyer who works in this area of law will be able to ensure that you understand the rules of this process and will help you get the best outcome.
The consequences of being found guilty are numerous. On top of weeks, months, or years in jail, you’re also facing thousands of dollars in fines, years of probation, and a criminal record…all of which can seriously and negatively affect the rest of your life. Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense lawyer knows the ins and outs of the law, the best way to proceed in court, and how to get you a fair outcome.