Except when in the courtroom, where talent and experience are essential components of successful representation, preparation and diligence is critical.  Law enforcement gets the entire length of the statute of limitations (on average, five (5) years but, depending upon the nature of the alleged crime, sometimes shorter or longer) to prepare to prosecute you. Once charged, you will be required to respond immediately.  When that “whirlwind” begins, the opportunity to think clearly has passed.  It is best to have counsel as soon as you instinctively feel threatened and/or close friends advise you that you need an attorney.