What Does Criminal Exposure Mean?

Posted on: 23 December 2020

When discussing problems with clients, it's common for an attorney to use the term "criminal exposure." This can seem a little odd of a term to use, especially if you don't believe you're the subject of an investigation. However, there are several reasons why a criminal law attorney may use the term so let's look at what it means and how it might apply to different situations.

Definition

Criminal exposure doesn't have a strict legal definition. It isn't anything the government specifically does to anyone. When a criminal defense attorney talks about someone having exposure, what they mean is there are scenarios where that person could be charged with an offense. It may refer to instances where someone is directly the subject of an investigation, but that's not required for someone to have criminal exposure.

An Example

Suppose someone close to you has been charged with a crime. You weren't involved in the offense, but the police have been asking you questions. Worse, your answers don't seem to be making the cops go away. Perhaps the police are even accusing you of obstructing justice, claiming that you're protecting the subject of the investigation. The fact that your situation doesn't allow you to escape the possibility of an obstruction of justice charge is criminal exposure. The police could charge you with that offense.

Why Criminal Exposure Matters

People often make the mistake of assuming that they have nothing to worry about when they discuss things with the police. If you're not thinking about criminal exposure whenever a cop or prosecutor asks you a question, there's a risk you could make the situation worse. One of the main reasons the American legal system allows you to retain the services of a criminal law attorney is to protect your rights in this exact scenario. Otherwise, there's a heightened risk you could be charged, tried, and convicted.

Avoiding Criminal Exposure

It's a good idea to avoid having conversations with any law enforcement official if you don't have a criminal defense attorney present. The police are not allowed to tell you not to have counsel present so tell them you want to contact your lawyer before you say anything. It's extremely unlikely a cop is going to arrest you at that point. If they thought they had grounds for an arrest, they wouldn't be that interested in talking until after they booked you.

Show them you know your rights. Insist upon only speaking with law enforcement once you have the benefit of counsel. Find a criminal law attorney, like those at https://dlplawyers.com/, today. 

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