Attorneys love to joke about what they do by saying that there is a special kind of profession the focus of which is to protect people from their motherland. As it often happens, behind every joke there is a grain of truth.
When it comes to proceedings in criminal matters, the state and a regular person are separated by a huge barricade. What’s more, they are hardly ever on an equal footing. Alongside the state there are an established mechanism of pre-trial and court investigation, public prosecutor's office, law-enforcement agencies and the court, which - let’s be honest – often remains far from unbiased. On the other side, there are the attorney and the witness or the accused - notably, the first one may potentially become the latter.
It is a well-known fact that the attorney’s key task is to provide legal assistance. But what does it mean in practical terms? As a matter of fact, the Attorney is not just an assistant who offers timely advice or simply helps the client not take any unreasonable steps.
He or she is not just a convincing, silver-tongued defender, but a serious constraining factor for the law-enforcement agencies who forces them to strictly abide by the letter of the law and responds immediately to any violation of the client’s rights. A large number of criminal cases did not even make it to the court room all thanks to diligent work of the attorneys.
On the flip side, the absence of attorney may lead to very negative consequences.
In our practice, there was this case: the client, CEO of a large company appeared at the Department for Combating Economic Crimes for interrogation accompanied by his attorney. The interrogation went smoothly in an almost friendly environment and so inspired by this the client sent his chief accountant for interrogation without the attorney the next time, which, according to him, was perfectly justified: why, indeed, waste money on defense, when investigation officers were all so nice and the whole interrogation process felt just like a heart-to-heart chat over a cup of coffee? However, everything headed south this time. The chief accountant has gotten under intense pressure right off the bat and after 3 hours of “torture” signed incriminating evidence on her CEO which was extremely hard to turn around. Without getting into specifics, let's just say that the situation eventually was remedied by using serious efforts.
Timely hiring of attorney helps not only avoiding similar situations, but also not letting the criminal case transform into a really serious problem.