A District Attorney (DA) is the prosecuting officer of a criminal case (i.e., the official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses). If you are accused of a crime the DA will determine what criminal charges to seek, whether a plea agreement will be offered, or whether to prosecute you at all.
DAs have so much control over the prosecution that it can be very helpful, or even necessary, to communicate with them about the case. However, some prosecutors will refuse to communicate with a defendant in order to avoid the attorney ethical issues that might arise in that context. Whether they are willing to speak to you directly or not, they will always communicate to a lawyer representative.
There are other reasons to consider hiring an attorney to communicate with the prosecutor on your behalf. A local attorney likely knows about the attitudes of judges and prosecutors. They know if there are a lot of cases on the docket and the attorney is overworked and looking for cases to dismiss. They'll know local policies relating to prosecution, the sort of plea agreements typically available for different kinds of cases, and whether there are diversion programs that can allow you to resolve your case without a conviction on the record. In addition to these advantages, an attorney's statements are less likely to inadvertently damage the case by revealing defense strategies and a lawyer can better communicate the reasons a prosecution against you may fail at trial.
Finally, speaking to the prosecution can have the reverse effect as the one you intend. Your statements could convince a prosecutor that they will win at trial, that they should add charges, or that they are wholly unwilling to negotiate with you. They say you only have one chance to make a first impression, and this observation is particularly cutting when a criminal charge is at stake.
Below are links to some DAs by county. To suggest a resource for this page, please e-mail us.
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Regardless of how you proceed it will be a benefit to consider your situation carefully before you start talking, especially to the prosecution. Because the law is complicated this often means seeking professional advice. Even if you aren't sure about hiring an attorney you can still get valuable information about your case by asking for a free consultation to discuss your situation.