Criminal lawyers should do an investigation in every single case they litigate. The depth and breadth of that investigation depends on the particular case, however, it is incumbent upon a defense lawyer in a criminal case to conduct an investigation.
If you are facing a federal drug charge, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin both investigating and defending your charge.
The specifics of any case will drive the DC federal drug defense investigation process. For example, when defending someone in a federal drug case where there are 500 recorded phone calls involved, an investigator will look at those phone calls to determine who is conversating. An attorney will attempt to interview anyone on those phone calls who is not represented by a lawyer.
Perhaps a phone call appears to point a finger at an individual, implying that they are the supplier of a certain drug, but there is actually another person to blame. In a DC federal drug defense investigation, an attorney would try to find that person and do a background investigation on them and subpoena information about that person.
For instance, in a real estate fraud case, where it is alleged that someone went to a certain office and signed documents using someone else’s name, an attorney would go to that office, interview people in that office, and try to obtain video on the day their client supposedly signed their name. That is the type of investigation that can lead the case in a totally different direction.
If an individual is arrested, the role of the criminal defense lawyer is to represent them to the best of their ability. With respect to the DC federal drug defense investigation, if an individual is arrested, the criminal defense lawyer must obtain information related to their investigation from the government through a process called discovery.
The attorney also conducts their own investigation and keeps researchers at their disposal. There may come a point where the attorney may approach the government and make a presentation to them to show that they do not have enough evidence to continue with their prosecution or obtain an indictment.
That usually happens before an arrest or when the investigation is revealed to an individual or their attorney. A criminal defense lawyer does their own investigation, interacts with the government, and tries to convince the government to not go further and to not even charge for arrest.
In a federal case, the government always has more resources that they can bring to bear and they have a longer period of time to do their investigations. But even in the somewhat compressed timeframe that a defense lawyer has once they are retained to represent somebody, there are many things to maximize the chances of a positive result.
Regarding an investigation, sometimes the defense attorney piggybacks off of what the government has already accomplished, for example, identifying witnesses. In federal cases, the government does not have to provide the names of witnesses to the defense but in white-collar cases they often do.
So, once those witnesses are identified, there is nothing preventing us from trying to interview those witnesses unless they are represented by a lawyer.
Many times, a defense attorney can obtain information from his client that help to guide an investigation’s direction and support the claim that the client is innocent of the charges. A defense attorney can get names of witnesses and access documents that the government may not know about, and conduct background investigations of government witnesses to obtain useful information that can be used to their client’s advantage.
Even though the defense attorney has somewhat of a compressed timeframe, he or she can make good use of that and get a lot of information that can be very helpful.
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