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Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Facing Criminal Charges

Man in Prison — Reflections of a Police Officer in a Car MirrorWith the penalties and consequences of a conviction hanging over your head, a criminal charge may be a daunting experience. The key thing to remember is that you are legally innocent until proven guilty.

Even so, every step you take will influence the outcome of your case. Therefore, regardless of why you’re facing a criminal charge, make sure you don’t make any mistakes that could negatively impact the case.

The following are some mistakes you’ll want to avoid making to increase your odds of a successful outcome.

Failing to Seek Legal Representation

You may want to wait until you are sure you need a lawyer before hiring one. When facing criminal charges, however, you need all the help you can get.

Getting a lawyer early on will help you avoid irreversible missteps that may worsen your case. Additionally, a lawyer will ensure the protection of your rights throughout the whole process. Also, an early start will give your lawyer more time to develop your case so they can achieve the most favorable outcome possible.

Making a Statement Without Legal Counsel

When you’re arrested, an officer will state your Miranda Rights, which include the right to remain silent. A wise thing to do would be to exercise that right. Only speak to the police to inform them that you prefer to wait till an attorney is present.

You’re legally obligated to answer questions about your basic personal information, such as your name. However, you do not need to provide details regarding the criminal case in which you are a suspect, whether written or verbal.

Even if law enforcement seems kind and understanding, if you are a suspect, the police do not ask that you talk to them to help or exonerate you. When you voluntarily give law enforcement information, they are free to use it against you in court. Law enforcement may construe your words as an admission of guilt.

You may also want to refrain from submitting other evidence, such as bodily fluid samples. If you voluntarily surrender such evidence to the police, a court may accept it as evidence.

Talking to Other People About Your Case

In dealing with the accusations, you might want to confide in your partner, parents, or best friend, and that’s understandable. However, the advisable course of action is to keep conversations about the issue to a minimum. Or not discuss your case at all, even with your most trusted friends and family.

After all, police may try to interview someone you talked to, or the prosecutor may call them as a witness. Therefore, only discuss your case with your lawyer.

Withholding Information from Your Lawyer

For your criminal defense attorney to build a solid defense, they must know all the facts and details of your case. Even if you believe something is irrelevant or incriminating, talk to your lawyer about it.

Information you share with your lawyer is confidential. So, your attorney may not necessarily disclose what you share with them in court. Depending on the information, your lawyer will know how to handle it from a strategic perspective.

Contacting a Witness

You should avoid communicating with anyone who has accused you of a crime or has a connection to your case. Contact with a witness might constitute witness tampering, which is a crime. As a result, you may face a witness tampering charge if the witness complains to the court. If communication is necessary, perhaps for clarification, let your defense attorney contact the witness.

Even though facing criminal charges is never easy, you can make things easier on yourself by avoiding mistakes as much as possible. Any less can put your freedom and future at risk.

If you’re facing any legal issues, Carl L. Britt Jr. Attorney at Law can help. Feel free to contact us today to talk to our knowledgeable and experienced lawyers.

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