The answer is simple: right away if you know you’re being investigated for a crime. Don’t make a mistake, hire a criminal defense lawyer. If you have to go to court, don’t go to court by yourself. Hire a criminal defense lawyer if you feel that something is in the pipeline. If a police report is being made against you, don’t wait. Hire a criminal defense lawyer. In this country you have the right to have an attorney, you have the right to have proper counsel, so take advantage of it. Do not wait for the process to start, do not fall behind the 8-ball hire a lawyer the moment you realize your freedom is in jeopardy.