Pre-Charge legal advice involves the consultation of a criminal lawyer at the early stages of an investigation.
If you have been involved in illegal activity or the police have identified you as a suspect of a crime, you should not wait until you are arrested to speak to a lawyer. Rather, you should contact one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers immediately.
The pre-charge phase of a criminal investigation is often where police will gather the most incriminating evidence against the accused.
Without knowing what the police may be looking for, or what you should and should not say to the authorities, you put yourself at risk of providing the police with the very information they need to charge you with an offence.
If you want to do everything you can to prevent charges being laid against you and to prevent your potential arrest and detention, it is critical that you seek pre-charge legal advice to ensure you have a full understanding of your rights and obligations when interacting with the police.
Our experienced lawyers will also equip you with an understanding of what to expect if you become the subject of a criminal investigation.
When Should I Get Pre-Charge Legal Advice?
It is best to seek pre-charge legal advice before ever meeting with the police. An experienced lawyer can help you with questions like: What should I say? Should I say it? Who do I say it to? What are my rights?
If the police have already been in touch with you, it is important to know what police officers are contacting you. This includes answering questions such as: Was I contacted by a street cop or a detective? What unit was it (e.g., child exploitation unit, economic crimes units)?
Time is of the essence, and it is worth considering getting pre-charge legal advice even if you have not yet been contacted by the police.
For example, pre-charge legal advice can help you if you have been involved in criminal activity or if you receive a hint of an allegation forthcoming.
Such an allegation could be made in numerous ways, such as being accused of something in person or receiving a message on social media implying you did something wrong.
In these situations, it is crucial to be proactive. By contacting a lawyer before speaking to police or before charges are laid to get guidance on dealing with the situation, you will increase your chances of a non-criminal outcome.
How Our Pre-Charge Legal Advice Can Help You
Pre-charge legal advice can make a significant difference in how a criminal investigation is handled and whether you will be arrested, detained, or charged.
For a flat rate, we offer a pre-charge legal advice package that includes:
- A comprehensive and careful review of your current situation;
- A careful review of all correspondence you have had with the authorities to date;
- A careful review of all correspondence you have had with potential witnesses or complainants in the case;
- A detailed explanation of the jeopardy you may face and the consequences of being charged or convicted of the offence;
- Assistance with preparing for police interviews/interrogations;
- Drafting correspondence to authorities or investigators;
- Negotiating with authorities to resolve the matter without criminal charges;
- Detailed legal advice about your options and what to do next;
- Standby legal advice as the situation unfolds;
- Standby assistance when interacting with the police; and
- Assistance with bail should you be arrested.
Where pre-charge legal advice leads to avoiding criminal charges, it is unquestionably the best money you could spend on a lawyer.
If criminal charges are inevitable, the fee that you pay for our pre-charge advice and assistance will be credited towards our general retainer fee for defending your case.
Do I Need Pre-Charge Legal Advice Even if I Wasn’t the One Who Committed the Crime?
Unfortunately, individuals who did not commit a criminal offence frequently become key suspects in criminal investigations.
This can happen in a variety of ways, including:
- You were in the wrong place at the wrong time;
- You were present while someone you are affiliated with committed a crime; and/or
- You were privy to information about a crime being committed.
Even if you personally did nothing wrong, pre-charge legal advice can play an important role in preserving your innocence.
Without a clear understanding of what the police are looking for, and your rights and obligations when being investigated, it is possible that you might say or do something that can lead to charges being laid against you, even if you are innocent.
If you are charged and later found not guilty of the crime, the mere fact that you have been charged with an offence can still negatively impact your life, as significant social stigma often accompanies criminal charges.
This can lead to serious repercussions, such as:
- The loss of your job;
- Inability to find preferable future employment;
- Issues with travel; or
- Mistrust from friends and family members.
Being proactive by engaging one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers to provide pre-charge legal advice can prevent these potential harms.
With our guidance, you will have the information you need to protect yourself during a criminal investigation.
Rest assured, we will do everything we can to insulate you from the stressful and all-consuming experience of being charged with a criminal offence.
If you are interested in seeking out pre-charge legal advice, contact one of our offices immediately so we can schedule a consultation at the earliest opportunity.
Pre-Charge Process FAQs
- When can the police search me?
- What are my rights when I am interacting with the police?
- If I refuse to provide a statement to the police, will it make me look guilty?
- Should I give a statement to the police?