Thursday, January 11, 2007


I have been an attorney for close to twelve years now and one thing that has stayed constant is how completely off guard my clients were when they were arrested. As police resources are stretched further and further it appears more people are getting arrested with little supporting evidence, with their arrests largely based on simple allegations of criminal conduct.

Unfortunately, until our politicians see how important it is for our local law enforcement to be adequately funded in order to better do their jobs by fully investigating crimes BEFORE arresting someone; it is within all of our best interests to have a plan of attack should you be facing an arrest. When police are called they often talk to the alleged victim of the crime first and get their version of what happened. Many times these "victims" have grudges or have motivation to lie or over exaggerate facts. Officers for whatever reason are often forced to make a decision regarding arresting the alleged defendant with little or no supporting evidence; but simply have to make a judgment call in order to protect the alleged victim or "society" as a whole. Do these officers make mistakes, yes like everyone else they are human and can only do the best job possible with the resources they have.

Unfortunately what this means is, all someone has to do is make a relatively simple allegation of criminal conduct against you, and you can be sitting in a jail cell. Should this happen to you, it is best that you have a plan of attack, instead of relying the overburdened, antiquated system, better known as "justice." Once you are arrested you are generally brought before a "judge" within 48-72 hours after your arrest. However, you are often given the opportunity to pay money to the jailer and make a promise to appear in court at a later date (posting "bail" or a "bond.") This can cost you a great deal of money. Money, that if it is tight, may be better spent contacting an attorney, who may negotiate with the detectives on your matter or at the very least instruct you to the bail reduction department. Also posting bail does NOTHING to help fight your case.

In choosing an attorney it is best to do your research ahead of time. Once arrested, your arrest becomes a matter of public record and within less then a week numerous attorneys will PURCHASE this information on you and send numerous advertisements to your home. The best attorneys are usually the ones that will start working on your matter IMMEDIATELY; as in many cases, much can be done before you have to show up to court. You will also often be asked by detectives if you would like to make a statement about what happened or give your version of the events. As your words can easily be twisted around or you may have very limited knowledge of particular laws; it is almost always advisable not to give a statement UNLESS your attorney is present with you.

If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you. Many public defenders are excellent attorneys who care deeply about their jobs and will do their best to help you. Unfortunately, as they have tremendous case loads, they too are often overburdened by the system and simply do not have the time to fully investigate or get your complete version of the events.

In this day and age where your criminal record pretty much can follow you around to one degree or another for the rest of your life, having a spot free criminal record can be a very important thing depending on your current or intended future occupation. This is also an extremely important consideration in determining how important hiring a private attorney is to you.

Also if you are arrested, one of the first things that will happen is your background will be checked to see if you have any existing warrants, past arrests or past convictions. These also play an important role on whether or not you will be held in custody or released.

If you have any further questions regarding this or any other legal matter please feel free to call the Law Offices of Carl Simons (310) 749-4LAW.