How to Prepare for a Criminal Trial
The trial process for a criminal case can seem overwhelming, especially if you are the defendant. The entire process will likely feel foreign to you, and you may experience some feelings of anxiety. A successful outcome in court rests on adequate preparation. Your attorney will likely guide you on your trial preparations, so you shouldn’t worry.
In this brief guide, we shall go over some things you can do to prepare for a criminal trial as a defendant.
Find Suitable Representation
The first thing to do if you have been charged with a criminal offense is to find the right representation. An experienced criminal attorney will guide you through the legal processes and prepare you for your day in court, which will help make the process seem less daunting.
Various public interest law firms and federally funded legal programs provide legal representation pro-bono or at a reduced cost, so if you cannot afford a lawyer, you can still get the help you need. Even if you do not qualify for legal representation, ensure you schedule a free consultation with a criminal attorney.
Gather Relevant Documentation
Your attorney may ask you to gather documents that are relevant to your case. These documents can provide evidence that your attorney will use in your defense. Your attorney may need old documents, so you’ll need to be very diligent in locating them.
Depending on the case matter, some documents that you can submit as evidence include bank and insurance records, newspapers, public records, and other official documents.
Avoid Destroying Evidence
This may seem counterproductive, but you must not destroy evidence, even if you think it may incriminate you. The court treats the destruction of evidence as obstruction of justice, which is a crime you want to avoid.
If you are found guilty of destroying evidence, a prosecutor may use that charge to negotiate during a plea bargain. This can result in a bad outcome in court.
Actions considered as destroying evidence include deleting incriminating pictures or electronic documents and destroying paper documentation or electronic devices that may contain incriminating information.
The court could charge you with obstruction of justice even if they did not request evidence from you. Therefore, to avoid obstruction of justice charges, discontinue all auto-delete functions on your voicemail, mobile phone, or computer as soon as you hear about a criminal investigation. Most importantly, do not throw away any mail.
Avoid Communications With the Plaintiff and Third Parties
The court may call people close to you to testify against you, so avoid saying anything that a prosecutor can use against you. The best way to avoid this is to avoid conversations about your case with friends, family, or colleagues.
The government may order you or the people you communicate with to submit records of your communications, including call logs, emails, and text messages, so you need to be very cautious in all your communications. Discussions of your case should only happen with your lawyer because they will regard everything you tell them as confidential, which they must legally respect.
Keep Off Social Media
The prosecution will use anything you say offline and online against you in court, so log off all social media platforms as soon as criminal investigations begin. Otherwise, the court may subpoena your social media communication records for use as evidence.
Decide Whether to Plead Guilty or Not Guilty
Based on the case circumstances, your defense attorney will advise you whether to plead guilty or not guilty of the charges brought against you. If your prospects of not being found guilty are high, your lawyer will likely advise you to plead not guilty.
Prepare for Cross-Examination
The final thing to do in preparation for your trial is to prepare for cross-examination. Your lawyer will prepare you to answer any questions asked in court and instruct you on how to behave under pressure. Your attorney may also prep your witnesses to ensure they do not say anything incriminating.
Preparing for a criminal trial can be a complex process, so it is wise to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal attorney. Contact Carl L. Britt Jr. Attorney at Law today for legal representation in Fayetteville, NC.