If you've been charged with any type of crime, no matter if it's your first offense and no matter the nature of the charge, you want to hire a criminal defense attorney and do this very quickly. It's important that you have an attorney with you when being questioned by anyone, even if it's very soon after your arrest, and throughout the course of your case. Note why this is true and why it's vital that you ask for their help sooner rather than later.
1. What you say can be used against you
You may have heard the phrase, "What you say can be used against you in a court of law," but may not take that phrase very seriously. It's not unusual for someone who has just been arrested to try to talk their way out of an arrest and in so doing, make the situation worse for them. They may inadvertently confess to the crime or some participation, or otherwise give police and prosecutors information that could work out unfavorably for them in court. It's good to call a criminal defense attorney right away rather than having any discussion with police or prosecutors on your own, even if the conversation seems minor and harmless to you.
2. Plea bargaining may be more readily accepted early on
In many cases, prosecutors are willing to negotiate or plea bargain with a defendant in order to save themselves time and the costs involved in investigating a case. This means that they may be more ready to plea bargain soon after you've been charged with a crime. If they invest time, money, and other such resources into researching your case and then filing it against you, asking for a court date, they may in some cases be less likely to want to bargain with you. Having an attorney work with them early on can sometimes lead to a more successful plea bargain for you.
3. Attorneys need time to prepare
When dealing with any criminal case, attorneys need time to prepare a defense; this means more than just reading the charges and arguing them in court, as it may also include hiring their own expert witnesses to refute forensic testimony and the like. This can take time, if not months, as they need to work around the schedule of those witnesses, wait for test results, and so on. Rather than assuming you can hire an attorney right before you go to court and he or she can simply step in and argue for you, it's good to hire one as soon as possible so they have time to prepare your defense.