Five crucial steps to take if you’re facing criminal charges
Being charged with a crime is a serious situation to find yourself in, and it’s important you don’t make a mistake that could worsen it. Here are five crucial steps to take if you’re facing criminal charges.
Making the right decisions when you are charged with a crime can mean the difference between clearing your name and walking out the police station freely and finding yourself before a court trying to argue your innocence.
So it’s important to know the best way to proceed if you are unlucky enough to be charged with a crime. Here five steps you may want to consider.
1) Keep quiet
The right to remain silent is repeated constantly by police in movies, and of course forms the cornerstone of real-life arrests as well.
This isn’t just a throwaway suggestion, but is actually the most profoundly useful thing you can do when charged with a crime. Don’t say a single word, no matter how you may want to defend yourself, and you will avoid the potential of misspeaking in a way that could come back to hurt you if the case goes to court.
The only thing you should say is that you are willing to cooperate in answering questions posed by police officers once a lawyer is present.
2) Hire an experienced attorney
Speaking of legal experts, you’ll want to procure the services of a criminal defense attorney with the experience and expertise to fight your corner effectively as soon as possible after being charged.
It pays to pick a professional who works in the field of law that’s relevant to your situation. So for example, the criminal defense lawyers at the law office of Jonathan Marshall have the knowledge and track record to assist clients effectively, whatever charges they face.
3) Get to know the types of offense and the penalties they carry
This is more of a general point, but learning about the different types of criminal offense and their relative severity within your state is useful.
In most places, the main distinction is between misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors can be punished by nothing more than a fine, or could result in jail time lasting from three to 18 months. Felonies are a much bigger deal, and could result in years behind bars if you are convicted.
Again, this should reinforce the need for effective legal representation, regardless of whether you are accused of a misdemeanor or a felony.
4) Trust your lawyer
You might be hesitant about how open and honest you can be with the violent crimes lawyer you hire, but this isn’t helpful. The only way for them to be able to represent you effectively is for you to tell them all you can about the crime you have been accused of, whether you are innocent or guilty.
Without this information, your lawyer will be unable to advise you on the best course of action, or provide you with the rigorous defense you deserve if it comes to that.
The whole purpose of attorney-client privilege is to ensure that lawyers and the people who employ them can speak to one another with complete honesty, without fear that this information will be passed onto any third parties. If attorneys break this, they could lose their license and effectively end their careers as a result.
5) Take note of the main details
It’s difficult to tell your attorney all of the details if you forget them before you get a chance to speak with them. This is why, if possible, you should aim to set down in writing the facts of the incident as you see them.
Once again, it’s about taking action as soon as possible, rather than delaying or dragging your feet. The first few hours after being charged with a crime are pivotal, so don’t succumb to procrastination.