If you are a hard-working, law-abiding citizen you may be under the belief that you will never need a criminal law attorney. While you may be correct, you might also be wrong. Like many people, you may mistakenly believe that only actual criminals ever need the services of a criminal law attorney. The truth, however, is that it is often the law-abiding citizen who needs a criminal law attorney even more than a criminal does. By way of illustration, consider the following four less obvious scenarios in which you need a criminal law attorney:
You Are a Witness or “Person of Interest” to a Crime
People often make the mistake of assuming that if they are a witness, or someone with “helpful” information that they are on the side of the “good guys” and, therefore, have no need for an attorney. The reality, however, is that a witness can turn into a suspect with one misplaced word. Likewise, a “person of interest” is frequently just law enforcement jargon for a suspect that cannot officially be called a suspect yet. If you fall into either category, it is in your best interest to consult with a criminal law attorney before you contact the police with a well-meaning, but potentially self-destructive, offer of help.
Your Spouse, Child, or Someone Else Close to You Has Been Charged with a Crime
In this scenario it depends what the crime in question is; however, it may warrant a conversation with a criminal law attorney on your part. A good number of crimes involve two or more defendants. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you look guilty by association. If your spouse, for example, was just charged with transporting or manufacturing large quantities of a controlled substance you can almost count on the police calling you or even knocking on the front door in the near future. Consulting with a criminal law attorney assures that you and your rights will be protected if, and when, that time comes.
The Police Want to Talk to You
This is another one that all too often leads to unwanted consequences. When the police are investigating a crime they typically spend a good deal of time talking to people who may have information about the crime. Unless you are the actual victim of the crime, do not make the mistake of agreeing to talk to them without first consulting with a criminal law attorney. Like many people, you may believe that refusing to speak to the police without an attorney makes you appear guilty. The truth of the matter is though, that you may already be a suspect. If that is the case, agreeing to a friendly chat with the police may provide them with just enough probable cause to arrest you. If it is not the case, exercising your right to consult with an attorney before you speak to them is not going to convince them you are the number one suspect.
Your Business Is under Investigation
This is a scenario that few people think about as warranting representation by a criminal law attorney — but they should. Businesses are frequently investigated for what are often referred to as “white collar crimes.” White collar crimes are non-violent, typically financially motivated, crimes, such as money laundering, SEC violations, or tax evasion. If you have an ownership interest in the business under investigation you most certainly need representation; however, you may also need to speak to a criminal defense attorney even if you are not an owner of the business. If you are a manager, administrator, or anyone other than a low level employee you could be implicated if charges are ever filed. Therefore, you need to protect your interests by consulting a criminal law attorney early on in the investigation.
As you can see, it is not necessary for you to be outright arrested and charged with a criminal offense for it to be a good idea for you to consult with a criminal law attorney. On the contrary, if you are even marginally involved in a serious criminal investigation it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Tennessee criminal law attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.