The COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the nation – and the world – has resulted in shutdowns throughout the country. These shutdowns have included court systems in most states that were forced to postpone non-essential appearances and transition to video hearings for hearings that could not be postponed. If you were arrested and charged with a criminal offense shortly before, or during, the pandemic, you may be thinking about putting off retaining an attorney given that your next court appearance may have been pushed out several months. A Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby explains why you should not wait to hire a criminal defense attorney during the pandemic.
If You’re Tempted to Hold Off – Here’s Why You Shouldn’t
In the last few months, COVID-19 has cost close to 30 million Americans to become unemployed and shot the unemployment rate up to almost 15 percent. If you are among those who have lost income as a result of the pandemic, you are undoubtedly looking for ways to cut expenses. If you are also facing criminal charges, foregoing legal representation may seem like a good way to save money; however, the money it saves you in the short term may cost you much more in the long run. Consider the following reasons why you should not hold off on consulting with a criminal defense attorney:
- A court delay does not mean the case is delayed. Most courts have been forced to continue non-emergency hearings in criminal cases. That does not mean, however, that the prosecutor has delayed the preparation of the case. On the contrary, the prosecutor in charge of your case is still working hard on putting together a case that will ensure your conviction, albeit from the comfort of his/her home most likely. He/she is still conducting interviews, preparing motions for the court, and reviewing evidence. By choosing to do nothing about your defense, you are basically giving the prosecutor a giant head start. Hiring a criminal defense attorney, on the other hand, ensures that the prosecution does not gain an unfair advantage.
- Witnesses become less reliable. Witness testimony can be shaky under the best of circumstances. The key to making the most out of a witness in your defense is to get to him/her early on and lock in the witness’s version of events. Memories fade over time and witnesses move or otherwise become unavailable. The more time that goes by, the less likely it will be that a beneficial witness in your case will actually be able to help you. An experienced criminal defense attorney can locate witnesses and arrange for them to provide an official statement, or even a deposition, right now.
- Evidence disappears or becomes inadmissible. Evidence comes in a variety of forms from fingerprints, to ballistics, to documents. One thing that almost all evidence has in common is that i becomes harder to discover and even harder to rely on the more time that goes by. You can be certain that the prosecutor has investigators out there gathering evidence that may be used against you. If exculpatory evidence exists that could prevent a conviction, you need someone working equally hard to find that evidence. Moreover, many types of evidence must go through the proper channels to be tested for it to be admissible in court. It must also be “discovered” (shared) with the other side so that they can conduct their own tests. Without an attorney, you effectively miss out on the opportunity to question test results obtained by the state. You also may wait too long to get your own exculpatory evidence tested, making it effectively worthless. Hiring an attorney now ensures that any evidence against you than can be excluded will be and any evidence that can help you avoid a conviction will be admitted.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges, do not make the mistake of waiting to hire a criminal defense attorney. Instead, consult with a Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.