One question people often ask is when to hire a lawyer. There’s no single answer to this question, but we believe the time to hire a lawyer is as soon as you know there may be a problem. Usually, this is when law enforcement is aware of a situation; however, there are also times when it would be wise to hire an attorney even before the police are involved.
Many people wait until they are officially “charged” with a crime before they retain an attorney thinking that there is nothing that can be done to keep themselves from getting charged or hoping that a problem simply goes away over time. This may be a mistake. In many situations, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can keep someone from getting charged with a crime or can negotiate lesser charges being issued through pre-charging representation.
Many times people unknowingly make their situations worse by providing law enforcement with information thinking that the police might not arrest them or will “give them a break” if they’re cooperative. Unfortunately, many people find out the hard way that the police weren’t helping them–they were manipulating them. Sometimes people decide not to speak to the police believing they are protecting themselves. This strategy often results in an arrest anyway.
Every situation is different and calls for a thorough analysis by a skilled criminal defense attorney. Should you cooperate? Should you make a statement? Should you turn over evidence? Should you wait and do nothing for now? What should you do? What shouldn’t you do? These are all questions that are answered by our attorneys through pre-charging representation. Our attorneys have been able to keep many people from getting charged and/or arrested in the first place preserving their reputations and saving them from humiliation and embarrassment.
The CCAP Problem
In Wisconsin, every criminal case appears in a free online database known as the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program (CCAP). CCAP is used by virtually every employer, landlord, financial institution, etc. in Wisconsin to run criminal background checks on people. Entries on CCAP display any charges that are issued, case events/notes, and case dispositions. As it stands, with very few exceptions, entries on CCAP are permanent and will remain online even if a case is dismissed or a person is found “not guilty” of a charge. While CCAP is a great resource for many people, CCAP has also proven to be a major problem for people who have been charged with crimes and subsequently try to find a job, rent an apartment, etc.
The existence of CCAP makes pre-charging representation that much more crucial. If a case is charged, it will appear on CCAP. The goal then would be to keep a person from getting charged in the first place if at all possible to avoid the “CCAP problem.”
Don’t wait until it’s too late, contact our firm today for a free consultation.
We serve Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee and Racine Counties, and all of Wisconsin. We have a statewide practice.