There are many kinds of lawyer out there, but the ones we see most in the media are criminal defense attorneys. Whether on the news or fictionalized in TV shows and movies, there’s a lot of intrigue around this class of professional.

So what does a criminal defense attorney get up to from day to day, and when is the right time to get in touch with one yourself?

The basic responsibilities of a criminal defense attorney

Once they take a case, an attorney will handle lots of different aspects that follow on from a client being suspected of or charged with a criminal act.

They’ll interview the client to get up to speed with their side of the story, they’ll investigate the facts of the case to build a defense or seek a route to outright acquittal, they’ll assess the evidence involved, they’ll be involved in jury selection if the case goes to trial, and of course they’ll participate in the trial itself to defend their client to the best of their abilities.

If a client is convicted and faces sentencing, an attorney is still relevant as they’ll be involved in this process as well, ideally aiming to reduce the jail time and other punitive measures that are enacted.

Consult with a criminal lawyer before speaking to law enforcement

You should get in touch with a local defense attorney, such as a Monmouth county criminal lawyer, if you’re accused of or charged with a crime. More importantly, you need to speak to a legal professional who’s got your back before you make any statement to the police.

This is because interrogation tactics are carefully crafted to weed out admissions of guilt, or incriminating outbursts, from suspects who are inexperienced and do not have a lawyer present.

If arrested and questioned by law enforcement, be polite and simply ask to speak with a lawyer before proceeding any further.

Even if you’re invited in for an informal conversation with the police, don’t let your guard down; get an attorney on-side and ask for their input rather than going in solo. It’s a smart financial choice, as much as anything else.

Contact an attorney before acquiescing to specific requests

Another law enforcement strategy to be aware of is that they may request that you put your signature to some forms, which they’ll present as a formality; part of the normal proceedings of processing people they’re interested in.

This is usually done if they don’t have adequate evidence to get warrants signed off. By signing release forms, you’ll be unwittingly giving them permission to do all sorts of additional investigation.

Once again, calling a lawyer in this scenario is imperative. They’ll be able to give you guidance as to whether or not you should cooperate with potentially problematic requests made by law enforcement, which you are legally protected against at a constitutional level.

Get in touch with a lawyer even if you are merely under suspicion of a criminal act

You don’t need to wait until the police knock on your door and drag you to the station to bring an attorney into the mix. And in these uncertain times, being proactive is better than being passive.

In fact it’s usually better to have a preliminary consultation with a legal expert if you are accused of a crime by a third party, or if you believe that you are under suspicion for a particular incident or act.

The sooner you have the advice and guidance of a lawyer to fall back on, the better you’ll be able to weather whatever storms you face.

A good lawyer can get charges dropped and ensure that you don’t have to go through the pain of a trial at all.