Many of our clients wonder if they can handle a criminal case on their own, or if an attorney is absolutely necessary. An attorney is a trained professional, and has many years of experience. They handle cases similar to your every day and are familiar with the courtrooms, Judges, Prosecutor's and most importantly, the law.
When a person has been arrested, the charge is filed with the police station. The officers review the charge and arrest and make the determination of whether it should be sent to the Prosecutors or not. Once it has reached the prosecutor's office, the prosecution makes the determination of whether the charges will be filed with the Court and the person will be summoned before the Judge.
Before going into Court for an Arraignment before the Judge, it is beneficial to have spoken to the Prosecutor and obtained all documents that would help in preparing a defense on your behalf. Generally, prosecutors do not return phone calls left by those being charged. They deal with hundreds of cases, and they do not have the time to review a file and return calls to those that are requesting police reports and other documents of evidence.
In contrast, when an attorney calls a prosecutor, they are more likely willing to cooperate with the attorney in providing them with the information that they need. Furthermore, if the attorney is an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney that has been practicing for over 30 years, they are very familiar with all of the different prosecutors and Judges. Knowing the prosecutor allows the criminal defense attorney to quickly get a hold of the necessary person to negotiate offers and request discovery. Discovery includes the arrest report, the police report and surveillance tape if applicable. It is important to obtain the proper evidence before the arraignment date so that the attorney has a strong sense of the facts of the case, and has a good idea of all possible defenses and weaknesses in the prosecutor's case.
If you do not have an attorney representing you, it will be difficult to get a hold of the Prosecutor prior to the arraignment, and much more difficult to obtain an arrest report. Attorney's know the proper procedure to efficiently and quickly obtain all documents. The professional will also have a good idea of what the possible offer may be, and can get a hold of the Prosecutor right away if it is necessary.
A criminal charge is a serious blemish on a person's criminal record. It could affect your job and school applications, as well as many other financial opportunities. Hiring an attorney will not only help ensure that your case sees the best possible results, it will expedite the process of speaking to Prosecutors and getting the necessary documents.