Finding An Advocate

Who Should Have A Criminal Law Attorney On Retainer?

If there's a risk that the police will charge you with an offense under criminal law, you don't have to wait to hire a lawyer. Typically a criminal law attorney will offer a retainer agreement. A retainer allows you to have the lawyer's services available to you, but you don't have to start billing hours right now. For a certain amount of money upfront, you get to retain their services in case you need criminal defense help. 

Who needs to have a criminal law attorney on retainer, though? The answer is more people than you might guess.

Nothing in criminal defense law requires you to wait until the cops or a prosecutor files charges. There is a strong argument for being proactive if you know the state is investigating you. If police cars have followed you or sat outside of your home or workplace, the cops probably aren't sitting in those vehicles for their health. You should contact an attorney, and you may need to put them on retainer if you think the police could eventually arrest or charge you with an offense.

Criminal Exposure

Some people and even businesses keep at least one criminal lawyer on retainer due to criminal exposure. This is the idea that some activities expose you to a higher risk of charges. People in some white-collar industries, for example, are at risk of embezzlement and fraud charges because their jobs are positions of trust. Even if they're confident of their innocence in these matters, that's not the same thing as them believing that a prosecutor might see the situation the same way.

High-Profile Individuals

Maintaining even a minor public profile can expose a person to criminal allegations. Famous actors and musicians, for example, may face false accusations because people think they'll settle for money. While such cases are usually manageable, that doesn't mean a police officer or an overly eager prosecutor might not intervene in the meantime.

Politics also creates high-profile exposure. Some folks in politics see criminal investigations as tools for pushing people aside while pursuing their agendas. Even at the local and state levels, criminal prosecution is a way to play hardball.


It may sound strange that the witness to a crime should retain counsel. However, witnesses can become defendants quickly. A prosecutor might decide that a witness had something to do with the offense. Likewise, some prosecutors will threaten witnesses with obstruction charges if they think those witnesses haven't produced good enough testimony against a defendant.

Visit a criminal defense law firm's website to continue reading more about this topic.