“When should I consider a Pre-Charge Attorney?”
You have the Constitutional Right to a lawyer. And your right to a pre-charge attorney, witness attorney or victim attorney is a valuable protection. You may wish to exercise this right due to:
- concerns about exposure to criminal liability
- police contacts as a person of interest
- target letter from a federal prosecutor
- police or prosecutors want you to be a witness
- prosecutors label you a victim but won’t listen to you
These are common situations where you may want a pre-charge attorney, a witness attorney, or a victim attorney.
“Don’t let their agenda ruin your life. They may wish to cast you in the role of “victim,” or of “witness,” or of “suspect.” You do have the right to legal counsel. Know your rights. Stand up for yourself, your future and your family. If you don’t, who will?”
Typically police officers investigating a possible case create a sense of urgency. Police do this not only for their convenience but also to disadvantage the target with surprise. Because the shock increases the chance of a waiver of rights (e.g., to silence, to not consent to a search).
Sure, law enforcement officers have a job to do. The problem, though, is that their job may hurt you — even if you are innocent.
If you knew nothing more, that should be enough to tell you that what helps them, hurts you.
So if you feel pressured, listen to your gut. It’s telling you to slow down. Assert your rights. Consult a lawyer first. A pre-charge attorney can protect you.
Sometimes people suspect that they may be a target of a law enforcement investigation, even before any police contact.
In either situation, the target of the investigation should consult a criminal defense lawyer. For the best protection, consider retaining a Minnesota criminal lawyer as a pre-charge attorney.
Sometimes prosecutors wrongly charge a witness with a crime. After all, just being a witness to a crime gives a prosecutor an opportunity to spin a story of guilt.
That is reason enough to retain a pre-charge attorney for protection from overzealous prosecutors.
When it comes to witness immunity deals, there are many kinds. Some are strong. But others are quite weak. An experienced witness attorney protects the witness’s interests.
Other times, a witness does not want to testify for whatever reason. A witness attorney can help.
Prosecutors sometimes adopt a posture of advocacy on behalf of crime victims. But when crime victims want something the prosecutor doesn’t want, things get frosty — fast.
That kind of conflict of interest between a prosecutor and a victim happens in a context of a power imbalance. But a victim attorney can empower the victim. We can put Minnesota’s victims’ rights statute to good use.
Thomas Gallagher is a victim attorney who helps level that imbalance by using law and advocacy skills to represent victims. This is how Gallagher helps to — finally — make their voices heard.
A criminal defense attorney like Gallagher can draw upon decades of experience in past criminal cases to counsel the client about risks and opportunities. You should look for that in a pre-charge attorney.
A deep understanding of police and prosecutor practice is invaluable.
Knowing police investigatory practices and countermeasures can make the difference between a prosecutor later charging a crime, or not. And experience with prosecutors means knowledge about what makes a case more or less attractive to them for charging.
Sometimes a lawyer retained for pre-charge attorney may represent the client with police or prosecuting attorneys — Minnesota state or federal.
This could include intervening to prevent interrogation; representation at an agreed recorded statement to police after an in-depth attorney consultation; or a pre-charge proffer, discussion with prosecutors.
In the event of an arrest and jail, the lawyer retained for pre-charge attorney will be ready to help counsel and advocate for release from detention, including at a bail hearing in front of a District Court judge.
If you have question about, or would like to retain a pre-charge attorney, call Minneapolis Criminal Lawyer Thomas C Gallagher at 612 333-1500