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Bouldin Law Firm
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How Soon Should I Retain An Attorney?

Many criminal defendants wait until the last minute to retain an attorney. Whether due to financial straights or a mistaken belief that the case will simply "go away," waiting before hiring an attorney is generally a mistake. In Kentucky, if a person is not represented by counsel, the investigator may continue to ask questions of a suspect or a criminal defendant. The more questions which a defendant answers, the more likely he is to make a mistake. Often in felony cases there are two other reasons that a defendant may wait before hiring counsel. If a case is merely being investigated, the defendant may believe that the investigation will stop before he is charged. While this is certainly possible, the likelihood is that someone will be charged with the crime. Further, a common investigative tactic is to tell a suspect that they are not, in fact, a suspect or a target of the investigation. This is often a way to encourage the person to talk to the authorities in hopes that they will admit or give information which will aid in their conviction. This is particularly true in Federal and other major felony investigations. The second reason in major cases that criminal defendants fail to promptly hire counsel is the time lapse between arrest and indictment. If a person is charged with a felony in Northern Kentucky, they have 3 days before which they must be brought before the court and bond is set. After that, unless waived, they are entitled to a preliminary hearing within 10 days if they are incarcerated and 20 days if they are released on bond. Once the preliminary hearing is concluded, there is generally a delay in presenting the case to the Grand Jury and for formal indictment. This delay is often 30-60 days in Northern Kentucky. If a defendant is incarcerated, they must be released from custody if no indictment is forthcoming within 60 days. Due to this Criminal rule 5.22, most indictments are brought within 60 days regardless of whether the defendant is incarcerated or not. This delay before the arraignment lulls defendants into believing that they have time to waste prior to hiring an attorney. Involving an attorney can do a number of things, including: investigation into the facts and strengths of the case, negotiating a plea and possibly having the felony charged dismissed or reduced, protecting the rights of the suspect/accused, amending the bond, and preparing for trial. Further, while a retainer is generally required to hire a criminal defense attorney, many attorneys will allow the retainer to be paid over this time period. If you have been charged with a crime in Northern Kentucky or Cincinnati and need more information, please contact Michael W. Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-MIKE (6453).

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