Pre-Filing Investigation

In Denver and the Front Range of Colorado a seasoned criminal defense attorney knows there is a gap in time – before charges are filed – called “the pre-filing” stage – or the investigation stage of a case – where a good lawyer can make a major difference in the final result of the case.

The Pre-Filing Stage of the Criminal Case

At this stage in the case, if the client notifies the criminal defense lawyer of the existence of the investigation, that lawyer’s efforts may greatly alter the outcome of the case. The experienced criminal defense lawyer will initiate a series of steps to investigate and defend the case before the filing decision is made.

For example:

  • The defense may interview witnesses while information is still fresh, or before witnesses move away.
  • The defense may take advantage of a witnesses inconsistencies upon being questioned by a good investigator to later use that information in negotiations with the District Attorney to defend the client and to use that evidence to persuade the DA not to file charges or to file less serious charges.
  • The investigation may lead to a “proffer” of the defense case to the police and the DA to establish an alibi or an alternate suspect – or to use the evidence to point out the major weaknesses in prosecutor’s case.
  • Discussions with the DA may lead to a reduced charge being filed or in some cases – no charges at all being filed.
  • Other negotiations may include an agreement to proceed by summons – and not arrest which would avoid the need to post bail and to suffer the humiliation of arrest.

As a former DA, H. Michael has filed hundreds if not thousands of cases for the Arapahoe / Douglas District Attorney’s office. He has successfully overseen the investigation of dozens of cases at the critical pre-filing – or investigation stage and knows the mistakes that law enforcement will make in their rushed investigations in their effort to make filing deadlines.

Attorney’s Office between 1984 and 1997. He knows what to look for in filing, and more importantly, rejecting a criminal case for finding… a process called nolle prosequi.

Never assume that because you have been arrested criminal charges will automatically be filed in court. The truth behind the scenes is that District Attorney’s have a lot of discretion in deciding which cases to charge and prosecute.

In some cases charges are inevitable and are filed, in other cases they may take up several months or longer after an arrest before making the final decision to go forward with a prosecution.

It is during this time, when the prosecutors are scrutinizing a case analyzing its strengths and weaknesses, that a criminal defense lawyer may make a difference.

If you are being investigated or have been arrested, and are awaiting charges – take the initiative, and call our firm so that we can analyze your situation and determine if “pre-filing” representation may male a difference in your case. Pre-filing representation is not always appropriate or successful in every case. However, there are certain cases where it may make an enormous difference in outcome in avoiding the expense, the embarrassment and the possible punishment of having criminal charges filed.

The Statute of Limitations

In Colorado, the statute of limitations – which governs how long the Government has to file charges varies with the crime investigated. For most felonies it is 3 years for some there is no statute of limitations. That means that the decision to file charges may take months if not years.

The Use of A Good Investigator

We use an excellent Colorado private investigator at our law firm who is dedicated to helping our clients immediately before criminal charges are filed in court. He and his team of investigative specialists often track down defense witnesses, and find important and relevant evidence before the police can. The resulting pre-filing investigation and intervention efforts have led to excellent results, including detained clients being released without the filing of criminal charges in court. See here.

In other words, the police initially had probable cause to arrest, but charges were not filed because the prosecutor reviewed the defense evidence and decided not to proceed with a criminal prosecution. Pre-Filing Criminal Defense success is very significant for our clients future because an arrest, without filed charges in court, means under Colorado law that a person can report on a job or licensing application that he or she has never been arrested.

The Right – and the Intelligence – To Remain Silent

Prosecutors and police can and will use your words against you. When a lawyer speaks to the DA or to the police nothing they say can be used against you. Therefore a major advantage of the pre-charging investigation is that your lawyer can contact law enforcement for you.

Law enforcement is trained and accomplished at compelling people – targets – to speak to them. They use tactics such as “we just want your side of the story” to lull you unto thinking they will be fair. Most often minds have been made up, reports are one sided, and witnesses that are exculpatory (witnesses for the defense tha offere evidence of innocence) have been ignored or not located. You will need an attorney to talk to investigators on your behalf.

Living under a “Kafkaesque” cloud of never knowing what is going on during the invesitgation can itself be unbearingly difficult and stressful. That is also a good time to consult with an attorney.

Attorney H. Michael Steinberg has a strong reputation with judges and prosecutors for defending clients in the courts of Colorado. He knows the system from the inside out as a former career prosecutor. H. Michael Steinberg has the experience and seasoning to speak the language of the police and the prosecutors. He uses those skills honed over a 26 year career as a Colorado Criminal Law Specialist, to benefit his clients.

For more information about the various defenses for your case, and to speak to H. Michael for your free consultation, contact H. Michael Steinberg at the numbers below.. He can be reached 24/7/365.

Client Reviews
"Mr. Steinberg provided my family with expert handling of my son's case. He took extra time understand the case, to consult with us during the pretrial proceedings, and to support him for a plea agreement. Mr. Steinberg is very knowledge about the law and very professional. He guided us in achieving the best possible outcome for my son. If I am ever in need of law services again, I will certainly have Mr. Steinberg handle my case. l also highly recommend his services to anyone that might be in need of an excellent defense attorney!" Tanya Witt
"I found myself in criminal trouble, that I wasn't guilty of and thanks to Mr. Steinberg's dedication and hard work, right before we we're looking at having to continue on to trial level Mr. Steinberg was able to use his vast knowledge of the law and his many respected years in the system to find a way to show my innocence. After a very unsure and somewhat difficult time for me, this very skilled and knowledgeable attorney was able to find the right path to take to reach a dismissal in my case. For that I can't tell you how much I appreciate his representation and his excellent understanding and helpful personality. He's a great man and an even better attorney but don't misunderstand him, he is an attorney not a therapist. Thanks H." Josh
"Working with Michael Steinberg was a wonderful experience. Truly people need to know that he is a expert in what he does. His personality is compassionate, intellectual, and down to earth. I glean that Michael is fun to be around. In the time I worked with him, it was a pleasure to be around him. As for my case, the outcome was amazing and couldn’t be better. He has made my life more manageable because of the outcome of my case. I’ve worked with other lawyers in the Denver area. He is superior to them all. If you’re in need of a lawyer and you come across Mr. Steinberg look no further he’s going to be the one you need. Thank you again Michael." Renee Taylor
Mr. Steinberg, It has been an honor working with you. I very much appreciated your style, demeanor, patience, and determination. I was well instructed in every step of the court process, and I felt that I received excellent guidance and timely information regarding my case. You have been extremely thoughtful with your time, and I was very impressed with your sensitivity in responding to my requests. Thank you. Anonymous