Who is the prosecutor?
The prosecutor is the lawyer defending the state in criminal cases. If you have a criminal charge filed against you, the prosecutor is the one trying to prove your guilt.
I got a call from the state prosecutor. What should I tell them?
First, it is unusual to receive a call from the prosecutor. All lawyers are expected to follow strict best practices, and that includes avoiding speaking to non-legal professionals about issues regarding the case.
Second, you have the right to not speak to the prosecutor. This is the best option, since anything you say can be used as evidence against you.
What are the dangers of speaking to the prosecutor?
Speaking to the prosecutor poses a number of risks to your case, especially if you haven’t consulted with your lawyer (chances are, if you had consulted with your lawyer you wouldn’t be speaking to the prosecutor). The main ways you could impact your case are:
Agreeing to a deal without understanding what it is you’re agreeing to.
There is often the urge to close the case as quickly as possible, and a crafty prosecutor might try to leverage this urge. If you agree to something without your lawyer present, you might be agreeing to have an unnecessarily permanent mark on your record. You might also be agreeing to pay a larger fine than necessary or any other in a wide variety of agreements that don’t actually benefit you.
Pleading guilty to something you don’t have to plead guilty to.
American courts have a philosophy of “innocent until proven guilty.” This means that if they can’t prove your guilt, you shouldn’t be convicted. Unfortunately, if you admit your guilt over the phone or in a conversation with the prosecutor, you can be convicted.
Providing them with information they didn’t have before.
You might not know exactly what information the prosecutor already has, chances are you probably don’t. Criminal cases are often complicated, which is why we have lawyers. It is unrealistic to expect defendants to be able to understand the intricacies of the law and defend themselves. A prosecutor can exploit this and get you to provide evidence they didn’t have before. Even without the prosecutor trying, you could mistakenly give them evidence they didn’t have before.
How to proceed if you are contacted by a prosecutor
If you are facing criminal charges and are contacted by the prosecutor and you don’t already have a criminal defense lawyer, either hire a lawyer or request a court-appointed attorney. Everyone has the right to an attorney, and you will need one if you are facing a prosecutor who is willing to contact you directly.
The Law Office of Case J. Darwin is proud to serve defendants in the Seguin and San Antonio areas with years of criminal defense experience. If you are in need of a criminal defense attorney, please contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation.