If charged with a crime, then your first court date is your arraignment and that is the beginning of the criminal court process. The criminal case process, however, started way before that.
Criminal cases begin in one of two ways. 1) Someone accuses someone else of committing a crime. 2) In victimless crimes - like a drug case - law enforcement begins an investigation into someone.
What is "Pre-file" Representation
"Pre-file" means that no charges have been filed against the suspect yet, but an investigation of some sort has begun. So, you may either believe, or know, that your are under investigation resulting from some accusation or law enforcement action. Securing a defense attorney in the "pre-file" stage means that you have an attorney on your side from the earliest stage of the criminal case process.
Let's talk about why it is so important to hire an attorney in the "pre-file" stage of your case. Prosecutors almost always get a head start in criminal cases (as if they don't have a big enough advantage). Law enforcement conducts an entire investigation, they interview witnesses, collect evidence, record calls, they may get DNA testing or tap your phones and only then do they turn their file over to prosecutors. Prosecutors then review the file and decide to file charges.
Prosecutors Get a Head Start
So, as you can see, if you wait to hire counsel until charges are filed you are way behind as soon as the case begins. Hiring an attorney from the beginning allows for your attorney to conduct an investigation as well. Witnesses may need to be interviewed, experts consults, and private investigators hired. The primary goal of pre-file representation is to prevent charges from being filed by prosecutors. The best way to do this is to get started as soon as possible.
Law enforcement officers are very good at recording events in a way that fits the narrative they developed. Everything they do is for the purpose of convicting you. They are not on your side. If they say they just want to chat and that it may help your case, you shouldn't. You should remain absolutely silent. Hiring an attorney from the onset of your case will permit them to begin a chronological defense and investigation that can help combat this narrative that law enforcement is building against you.
What do you Get from Pre-File Representation?
From the initial accusation law enforcement is building a case against you. With an attorney on your side we can start building a case FOR you. Your lawyer will begin to document alternative suspects, track their motives, and seek to determine if law enforcement is excluding them. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may contact the investigative agency as well as the prosecutor's office and establish a line of communication and ensure that your rights against self-incrimination and warrantless searches are protected. Additionally, if you do have warrants or if warrants are eventually issued, your attorney should work to arrange bond and turn-in procedure.
How do the Fees Work?
The fact of the matter is that fees are lower for pre-file representation than fees for criminal cases after representation. For that reason, some lawyers don't provide pre-file representation. Some lawyers believe that the best thing they can do for their clients is to get their clients charges dismissed. Ryan believes the best outcome for his clients is to prevent any charges from being filed at all. At J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC our pre-file representation is on a flat fee basis so that our clients know what to expect and if charges are filed any fee paid goes toward the cost of your defense.
Ryan Brown is not afraid to offer pre-file representation. His only goal is to ensure the absolute best possible outcome for his clients - he wants to help you prevent any charges from being filed. Contact us today for a confidential consultation with Ryan. Whether you are confident you are under investigation, or simply worried that you may be, it is critical that you secure representation as soon as possible. Contact us today for your consultation.