“We are in the business of helping good people overcome bad situations”
It’s been said many times that the best defense is a good offense. A person who becomes the subject of a criminal investigation should hire a private investigator and an attorney without delay. For a potential defendant, time is of the essence.
The investigation phase of a criminal investigation is also referred to as the “pre-charge phase.” It’s during this time that law enforcement is building its case against the subject, and his exposure to being charged with a crime is at its highest. By retaining the services of an attorney and private investigator during the pre-charge phase, the subject can significantly reduce the chance that he’ll actually be charged with a crime.
Being charged with a crime, where the charges are later dismissed, is substantially different from having never been charged at all. Once charged with a crime, whether guilty or not guilty, the subject has a criminal history record that will always exist – a record that significantly reduces the chance of future employment. If charged with a crime, an individual must comply with the requirements of bail, which in turn could significantly restrict his freedom of movement, assuming he is allowed bail at all. In many states, certain types of offenses are not eligible for bail, even if the subject can post millions of dollars. As if this weren’t enough, the stress placed on an individual under indictment can be overwhelming when his freedom and reputation in the community are at stack.
Your Defense Team
The reasons for hiring an attorney immediately are clear to most people. The attorney acts as a “buffer” between law enforcement/the prosecutor and the potential defendant. But what isn’t immediately apparent, even to a lot of criminal defense attorneys, is that bringing in a private investigator provides the best chance of obtaining exculpatory information that can be utilized to leverage negotiations, thereby possibly reducing the severity or number of charges – or even preventing charges from being filed at all. An attorney can litigate only that information that is in his possession. Responding to potential charges based solely upon the information that is confined to the government’s investigation is unacceptable.
Role of the Private Investigator
Private investigators are a force multiplier – plain and simple. A seasoned private investigator possesses the necessary experience, skills, and equipment to review investigative materials and draft an investigative plan of action before an indictment is obtained. Evidence has an expiration date, as witness memories fade, video recordings become unavailable, and physical evidence can be tainted or destroyed.
When hired during the pre-charge phase, a private investigator will start collecting – independent of law enforcement – evidence that is advantageous to the defense. It’s important to remember that usually the government is seeking evidence that supports a case for criminal charges, and it can either accidentally or purposely exclude evidence of innocence.
A private investigator can locate and interview key witnesses to lock in their testimony. Interviewing a witness from a defendant’s point of view will undoubtedly elicit responses from the witness that may not have been obtained through law enforcement interviews. Once key witnesses are identified, the private investigator can begin building background profiles on them in order to challenge their credibility in the event the prosecution wishes to present them before the grand jury or other court proceedings.
When hired early on in an investigation, the private investigator will have an opportunity to visit the scene, canvass the area, and collect evidence that has been overlooked. Canvassing an area can – hands down – be the best way to produce new evidence in a case. The presence of video can provide independent evidence in a case, but in many cases, it will need to be collected within 30-45 days of the original recording due to current DVR limitations. Waiting to canvass an area until after discovery is received from the prosecutor can void any chance of obtaining video of an incident. It can also mean lost memories on the part of witnesses.
By also including independent experts and medical professionals in investigative activities, the potential defendant can position himself favorably. Cell phone and computer forensic experts can document evidence that’s consistent with an alibi. Medical professionals can conduct mental health assessments and facilitate drug tests. Polygraph examiners can perform polygraph tests with the potential defendant for presentation to the prosecutor. An experienced private investigator has an extensive network of such professionals and acts as a “quarterback” during the pre-charge investigation.
Now that the attorney has evidence and information independent of the government’s case, he will be armed with the ability to leverage negotiations with the prosecutor and law enforcement. One technique commonly used is to present the prosecutor with a Trebus letter. In accordance with the ruling in Trebus v. Davis, the subject’s attorney can notify the prosecutor that the subject would like to make a statement before the grand jury. Failure of the prosecutor to comply with the Trebus letter can result in any indictment obtained against the defendant being dismissed. While the grand jury can ultimately deny the individual the opportunity to speak, often it will welcome hearing from him. In addition, the defendant’s attorney can present exculpatory evidence to the prosecutor that may convince the prosecutor that the defendant is indeed innocent or at least that proving the defendant’s guilt at trial would be difficult. Additional legal tactics are also available – all of which, again, can result in an individual either not being charged or facing greatly reduced charges.
For an individual who is faced with a potential criminal prosecution, obtaining an attorney and a private investigator immediately provides the best chance for a positive outcome. The time to attack the government’s case is prior to being charged, not after an arrest has occurred and the passage of time has resulted in critical evidence becoming unavailable. Criminal defense, when conducted correctly, is a team effort. Even the best attorneys, when on their own and confined to the four corners of the government’s investigation, can prove to be ineffective. Successful litigation is depending upon possessing critical information. Guess who is the best candidate to obtain it?