Can I Speak Directly to the Prosecutor?

Posted By David L. Carlson, Attorney At Law || 9-Oct-2015

Should defendants speak with prosecutors? Most of the time, prosecutors tend to avoid corresponding with the defendants in the case. Even if the defendant does have the chance to speak with the prosecutor, there is a chance that it could harm the outcome of the case, in the long run. Although, this can be prevented by learning how to negotiate effectively with the prosecutor.

According to professional guidelines outlined in the Virginia State Bar (Rules 4.2-4.3), if you have retained defense for your case, other counselors may not correspond with you with regards to that particular case. If the accused does not have a legal representative, then the lawyer must advise the individual to obtain counsel.

These are some of the top reasons speaking directly with a prosecutor can be harmful to your case:

  1. You might give the prosecutor information they did not know beforehand.
  2. You might negotiate or agree to something without fully understanding the situation.
  3. You might not know what evidence or testimony they have, and they may use that to their advantage if they negotiate with you.
  4. If you plead guilty, there is a chance the prosecutor will not be able to prove it.
  5. All conversations between a defense attorney and a prosecutor are confidential. If you were to have a similar conversation with the prosecutor, they might believe you are admitting to your statement.

In some jurisdictions, some arresting officers advise citizens that the prosecutor will reach out to give them a call in the next few days. This is a trap! Some have fallen for it. You may believe you can convince the prosecutor over the phone, bargain, or deny involvement in the commission of a crime. However, this merely adds fuel to the fire. Anything you say can be a clue for the prosecutor. You do not want to unintentionally admit to something. As an example, you say you were present during the crime but had no involvement. The prosecutor now knows you were present and witnessed the crime, and may use that to extract more information.

You do have the right to represent yourself if you do not wish to obtain a defense attorney. However, it is important to understand that you be careful about how you approach and correspond with a prosecutor before choosing this route. As always, you may also reach out to the Richmond criminal defense lawyers at Carlson & Collier for legal advice about what to do about your particular situation.

We are available day or night to receive your call. Schedule your free appointment: (804) 277-4774.

Categories: Criminal Defense
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