We are there when you need us. For more than 20 years, we have given the officers' Executive Board members access to our attorneys' home phone, cell phone and pager numbers in order to allow true 24/7 availability in order to have a quick response to a critical incident. When a law enforcement officer uses his weapon, a lawyer from our firm is usually able to respond within an hour or less to the officer's location. In most cases, our lawyers have been on site before any other investigators appeared.
Our lawyers are familiar with Attorney General Guidelines and Directives, especially the ones relating to Use of Deadly Force and Vehicular Pursuit, which often come into play when an officer is involved in a critical incident. Each of our lawyers has years of experience and knowledge of police defense not taught in any law school.
On April 15, 2007, the legislature passed what is known as the "enhanced penalty statute". This statute has changed the implications of a "critical incident" forever. Under that statute, an officer who may be charged with any one of 19 offenses faces five years of imprisonment with no parole eligibility, PTI or ISP eligibility. Also, the statute mandates a loss of pension, reversing what had been the law for more than 30 years. On May 31, 2007, the Attorney General issued a directive to all county prosecutors telling them any plea offer should require a defendant to plead guilty to the most serious readily provable offense.
What this means is that in practical terms, time is of the essence in making a decision about what to do in the face of charges. Now a law enforcement officer needs to know at the police station immediately after the incident, not weeks or months later at the courthouse, what the options and consequences are of the charges that could be brought. All too often other approved attorneys may not be available for days when there are only hours to make a life changing decision.