If you’ve just been accused of something “criminal” but know you are innocent, there are steps open to you before the matter reaches a court of law, advised Cleveland criminal attorney Edward La Rue, founding partner of the Law Offices of Edward R. La Rue. —
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The route from potential crime to charge generally runs from a police inquiry, followed by an officer writing up a report and submitting it to a prosecutor to weigh up evidence and the likelihood of success in court before the charges are even officially brought against a person.
“Firstly, someone who is under investigation and charged should certainly consult an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible,” advised La Rue.
He based this assertion upon knowing that an experienced attorney can work to cement a defendant’s rights, and thus his best avenue to prove his innocence through a number of legal routes before a case gets to court, and certainly before it proceeds to trial.
A lawyer could intervene before charges are even filed, such as communicating with the investigating officer before the file lands on a prosecutor’s desk, or reaching out to the prosecutor to explain an alleged incident in context, detailed La Rue.
However, this is often not the right path, as most defense lawyers will tend to opt to wait until charges are filed, he added. “Then a lawyer can meet their client and get a complete grounding of the relevant facts and weigh up their options.”
A lawyer may well feel it is better to investigate the incident and gather evidence to present them to a prosecutor to prove that what has been accused didn’t happen, or wasn’t the proper party to accuse. Nevertheless, most lawyers will probably “keep their powder dry” until the charges are tried in court.
He asserted: “Doing nothing may well be the safest, best and patient option for the defense. In some cases, however, it can take months for a prosecutor to learn there’s insufficient evidence to convict a defendant based on various grounds, including that a witness isn’t credible.”
Alternatively, charges may not survive if a defense lawyer wins a pretrial suppression motion, gets the case dismissed at a preliminary hearing, and the prosecution opts against presenting the case to the Grand Jury, or re-filing the case.
Short of a not guilty verdict at trial, the defense team’s hopes will ultimately stand or fall on the facts and the circumstances. Yet what happens at the start of an investigation or prosecution can make all the difference. A talented and experienced criminal defense attorney is the only one to give you that critical help when most needed. After all, if your lawyer doesn’t presume your innocence, do you really want him on your side?!
Name: Edward R. La Rue
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Organization: Edward R. La Rue, Attorney at Law
Address: 323 W. Lakeside Avenue, Suite 210, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Phone: (216) 600-0663
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