Pre-Charge Cases

Arrested or investigated for a crime, but no charges filed yet?

How we help you when you were arrested or investigated for a crime, but the charges have yet to be filed by the prosecutor? Nearly every day we receive phone calls and emails asking us: “I was arrested and/or investigated for a crime by the police, but I have not been charged with anything yet.  What do I do?” We call this situation the “pre-charge” phase.  These are criminal cases that have not been charged by the prosecutor yet but most likely will be within the statute of limitations.  There can be a variety of reasons why there can be a hold up.  Usually the police agency who investigated you or your family member is still gathering evidence, waiting for scientific lab results, or just taking their sweet time to write their reports, and they want to have all of their ducks in a row before they submit their paperwork to the prosecutor to charge the case.

While this can be a scary time not knowing what is happening, it provides us as criminal defense attorneys an incredible opportunity to completely prevent the criminal charges from being brought against you or mitigate the severity of the charges brought against you.  In fact, it can be much easier for us to achieve a better result at this phase than we ever could if you wait to be charged.

How “pre-charge cases” are handled by our firm

Our representation for every one of our “pre-charge” clients varies greatly as each case is unique but we will often contact the officer or detective whom is investigating your case and provide them with positive background information about you and also provide them evidence that contradicts what they think you did.  After speaking with the officer or detective, if they tell us that they have already submitted their paperwork to the prosecutor, then we contact the prosecutor directly prior to the charges being filed.   Sometimes it may be prudent to let sleeping dogs lie and prepare a defense in case charges do end being filed instead of tipping off the police and prosecutor.

While the type of alleged offenses will often dictate what we will and will not do when defending our clients in a “pre-charge” phase, some of the things we do include:

  • Providing exculpatory information to the investigator and to the prosecution;
  • Handling peripheral issues like insurance companies to prevent them from obtaining damaging information;
  • Arranging for a self-surrender in the case of an immediate arrest to avoid embarrassment and injury;
  • Working to avoid an arrest and arranging a summons should charges be brought.

Although the methods of pre-charge work are different depending on the case, the goals are always the same:

  • Prevent charges from being filed
  • If charges are filed, minimize them
  • If charges are filed, avoid arrest
  • Begin preparation of a comprehensive defense

Why should you not wait for charges to be filed and hire an attorney now?

If you have been arrested by the police but not issued a citation or summons with a court date, you believe that you are under investigation for a criminal act of any kind, or you believe that you may be vulnerable to prosecution should an investigation begin, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so we can begin the “pre-charge” process.  As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  When your life, liberty, livelihood, and good name are at stake that is doubly true.  Contact the attorneys at AZ Defenders today for a free consultation at 480-456-6400 or online.  We are experienced in handling all manner of criminal cases before charges are ever filed and will use all our skill and resources to ensure they are not.

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