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Under investigation for child molestation. Charges not yet filed. No arrest. Should I retain an attorney on pre-file?

Sacramento, CA |

Having spoken with several attorneys, all suggest I wait on DA action before I retain their counsel. This recommendation is based on the perception that charges may not be filed. However, a few attorneys have given me the option to retain them prior to charges being filed (pre-file). These attorneys offered me this option for peace of mind, but not as a means for pre-file case resolution or dismissal. What are the benefits of retaining counsel pre-file? The funds for this service would be applied toward a proper retainer if necessary. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You are wasting time and money. If the DA does not file you have gained nothing. If the DA does file I assume you have been told what not to say since you have spoken to "several attorneys". I see no benefit until and unless you are charged. Good Luck


  2. If you have spoken to some attorneys, then I think you should wait and see what develops. If charges are brought, you can retain counsel to deal with the case. Start putting some funds aside so that if a case is filed, you can get counsel quickly.


  3. I'll give you the other side of the coin. Many times, the attorney is able to contact the investigator, discuss the case, the strengths and weaknesses, and whether or not the investigator is going to recommend that charges be filed. The investigator will also be advised that the attorney represents the client, and that the client should not be contacted or interviewed without the attorney being present. When the DA is involved, in many instances, the case can be discussed and negotiated before the first court appearance. In the situation where the case is going to be rejected by the DA, that information can be communicated to the client as well. If charges are gong to be filed, arrangements can be made in to surrender the client into court, as opposed to being arrested on a warrant. Many clients want to have their cases managed by an attorney during the investigation phase for these and other reasons.. Of course, there are no guarantees that hiring an attorney at this time will change a thing in the prosecution of the case, but again, there can be benefits to retaining an attorney early on in the process. It depends on what you, the client, want to do.


  4. Hire an attorney. As other lawyers have pointed out there is much an attorney can do for you before the case is even filed. I offer clients of this type a pre-file agreement which reserves my time to do all the things the other lawyers on this post mentioned.

    The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. Anything you post here is not confidential and is not protected by the attorney-client relationship. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting.