How a person’s criminal case in Washington, DC proceeds depends on a variety of factors. Typically, in a situation in Federal Court where the prosecution secures an indictment against you, very often it is filed under seal so it’s not an accessible document. In instances like this, it may be difficult to fully understand the scope of one’s charge.
In Federal Court, if you’ve been indicted, usually you won’t know about it until someone comes and informs you. In Federal Court, for example, when there is an investigation, they are looking for larger conspiracies with multiple defendants. In those situations, the government clearly doesn’t want to publicize the fact that they are going to be seeking the arrests of different individuals until they have the opportunity to make the arrests.
This is why indictments are often filed under seal; so that they have the opportunity to go and arrest the individuals who are indicted. Because being charged with a crime in Washington, DC can be a somewhat complicated process, it is important and beneficial to speak with a DC criminal lawyer as soon as you can to discuss your case.
If you have been arrested, you should speak with a DC criminal lawyer. A lawyer can assist you by conducting an investigation into your case or by checking to see what witnesses have to say. The government won’t necessarily be interested in witnesses who are helpful to the defendant. They look for witnesses and evidence that help them secure a conviction. Having a criminal defense attorney with an investigative team looking for any and all evidence will be beneficial to your case. There might be evidence that can cast doubt on the government’s allegations and evidence. You absolutely want to have the defense team working quickly and comprehensively as early as possible.
The police will do everything they can to entice a suspect to engage in a conversation with them and make admissions so that the police do not have to find evidence against that individual. Instead, they can point to the fact the individual confessed to something as innocuous as being present at a location or knowing the complainant. Any individual who is contacted by police investigating another individual should contact a DC criminal attorney before giving any statement to the police.
The police do not give the individual all of the details about the allegations against them. Instead, they engage the suspect in more casual conversation, first trying to win the person’s trust while trying to gather information in the form of admissions. A person who’s being investigated may wish to assert their innocence and answer the questions of the police officer. In the course of doing so, they may make admissions to key pieces of evidence in the case that the government otherwise could not have proven but for the defendant’s statements.
Even when an individual is completely innocent, if they are being accused of a crime and the police want to talk to them about it, the individual should absolutely talk to an attorney. Even if someone believes speaking with police is completely harmless because they aren’t guilty of any crime, it is better to be safe an consult with your DC criminal defense lawyer. Many cases have been lost in the criminal justice system because a defendant talked to the police without having counsel, thinking that they were helping themselves by talking to the police.
You should be prepared to talk to the attorney about everything you know about the allegations against you. If you have an understanding that you have been accused of X, Y and Z, you need to make sure that you tell your attorney everything that you know about the accusations. This includes the identification of possible witnesses, who was speaking to you, and the identification of police officers. If this is a situation where documents could be used either against you or by you, bring copies of those documents with you to discuss with your DC criminal defense lawyer. You want to have all pertinent information about the case at the ready for your attorney. Getting information to your attorney early and comprehensively is absolutely critical.
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