Situations Where You Want To Call A Lawyer -- When You're Not A Suspect
Movies and television stress the importance of you requesting a defense attorney if you've become a suspect in a criminal case. While that is vital for you to know, there are other situations where you will want to have a lawyer on call if you are interacting with the police -- even if you aren't a suspect.
Here are a couple of scenarios where it's still best to have a lawyer by your side.
If you have witnessed a hit and run, robbery, or other type of crime, the police on the scene will want to interview you. These interviews happen rapidly after the incident and it's generally fine to answer basic questions about what you saw, especially if you have identifying information on a suspect who is still at large. But if the police call you back in for another interview a few days later, take a lawyer along with you.
Why would you need a lawyer if you were only a witness? Chances are, you don't need the lawyer. But it's better to have one and not need one than need one and not have one. For various reasons, the police can later use certain statements against you and in some way pull you into the criminal act as a participant rather than the witness. An example of how this can happen is if the suspect's physical description generally matches your own appearance or if another witness becomes confused and thinks you were assisting the criminal.
A lawyer can help you avoid answering any questions that could lead to statements that falsely tie you to the criminal act.
If you are the actual victim of a crime, it's best to call your lawyer right after the police have been notified. There are situations where you are clearly the victim and no one can claim otherwise, such as your home being robbed while you were out of town. But there are other scenarios where your own culpability can be called into question, such as a driver ramming into your car in an accident that doesn't have a clear cause and reliable witnesses.
In the cases where you aren't questioned as a victim, a firm like Criminal Defense P.A. can still help you navigate the bureaucratic world of filing the police report, making insurance claims and seeing the perpetrator through to conviction. In the cases where your culpability could become questioned, your lawyer can help find proof that you were the victim and argue that case in court.