The short answer is yes, you do. And you should do it immediately. Memories fade, people move or become hard to locate. You need to lock in their statements now so that you can determine the best approach to defending against the charges.
Yes. The government isn't on your side, so you will need your own team, including the private investigator and any experts. Good luck.
for fairness / for freedom
The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.
You need an competent investigator who is on your side and who can get the information you need. You can't rely on the people who want you prosecuted to fight for the facts you need.
Yes. I agree with my colleagues. I'd add, however, that you should understand it HAS to be a private investigator-- not your attorney, certainly not you-- who takes those friendly witnesses' statements. The reason has to do with the rules of evidence applicable at trial. If you don't have a private investigator take the statements, you risk not being able to use them at all, for complicated legal reasons.
Any answer provided on Avvo, including this one, is a general answer about a legal question, not specific legal advice. Different lawyers may analyze this or any other matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am licensed in the state of California and the Central District of the Ninth Circuit.
You absolutely need an aggressive attorney who will use an investigator to gather evidence that is favorable to you. Police officers are supposed to write complete, accurate, and truthful reports. Unfortunately police reports often are filled with material omissions, mistakes, and outright falsehoods. It left to the aggressive attorney and his investigator to provide "the other side of the story" that is routinely left out of the slanted police report. If you have an attorney, hopefully he will aggressively pursue all possible evidence and potential witnesses. If you don't have an attorney you should hire one immediately. Most attorneys, like myself, offer a free consultation.