When do I need to get a criminal defense lawyer?
You need to have an experienced criminal defense attorney working on your behalf as soon as you have any contact from or with any aspect of the criminal justice system — that is, law enforcement officers (e.g., police, sheriff, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement), a prosecutor (city, county, state, or federal), or a parole officer.
These various aspects of the criminal justice system have far more power than an individual such as yourself, and a skilled defense attorney will “even the playing field” on your behalf. A Sigal Law Group criminal defense attorney ensures that your legal rights and interests will be protected.
Do I need an attorney even for minor offenses?
Yes. Although a criminal offense that doesn't have potential jail or prison time might seem inconsequential, there are a number of reasons that you should still have a defense attorney representing you. For example:
- Even a minor criminal offense can create a criminal record for you that could have a negative effect on your employment opportunities, education and housing. Every application form that contains a question about a prior criminal conviction will need to include such a conviction.
- Even minor criminal offenses “add up,” and a conviction that seems like no big deal now could come back later to you as a prosecutor considers your criminal record when issuing a charge or when you are sentenced for another offense.
Why should I hire a Sigal Law Group defense attorney if I can have a free public defender working for me?
Many of the State of California's Public Defenders are highly skilled defense attorneys. Others are fresh out of law school. Most importantly, every Public Defender in the state has an extremely large caseload; that is, he or she is charged with defending many, many clients. The Sigal Law Group attorneys have both the experience level and the adequate amount of time that will ensure complete, thorough and effective defense representation to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
A law enforcement agency wants me to submit a sample (e.g., fingerprint, hair, tire print, voice, etc.) to “exclude” me as a suspect. Should I do this?
No, don't give anything to law enforcement officers without consulting a criminal defense law firm such as Sigal Law Group first. The officers are not “on your side” or trying to help you in any way. On the other hand, if you were issued a search warrant, this is a court order that must be complied with or answered in some way — but you should still discuss it with a defense attorney before you supply anything.
What if the law enforcement officers contacted me and said they just want to “get my side of the story” in a criminal matter?
No — use your Constitutionally guaranteed right to remain silent. It's human nature to feel like it's okay to talk with a polite officer of the law, but whatever you say can be used against you. Contact Sigal Law Group first. If you already spoke with the officer, don't despair; write down everything that was said (to the best of your memory), and contact our offices.
For a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a very knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, contact a Los Angeles criminal lawyer at the law offices of Sigal Law Group, PC in Los Angeles today. We will answer all of your questions and advise you of your legal options.