7 Critical Steps to Take When You’re Facing Criminal Charges
Are you facing criminal charges? Are you nervous about what’s to come and not sure what to do next?
While being charged with a crime may seem like the end of the world, it doesn’t have to be. If you take immediate action, things can get better.
What do you need to do?
Check out this guide to discover the top steps to take when you’re facing criminal charges.
- Hire a Lawyer
After being charged with a crime, the first thing you need to do is hire a criminal defense lawyer.
A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that only guilty people need to hire lawyers. However, this is not the case. Anyone who has been charged with a crime needs to hire a criminal defense lawyer.
If you don’t have the money to hire a lawyer, the state must provide one for you. If you do have the money to hire your own lawyer, here’s what to look for:
- Trial experience
- Someone with a winning record
- Good reviews and testimonies from previous clients
- A license to practice law that’s in good standing
- Someone who is an effective communicator and answers your phone calls/emails promptly
You also want to make sure you hire a lawyer who has experience winning your specific type of case. For example, if you’re being charged with a DUI, you want to make sure you hire someone who has experience winning DUI cases.
A good lawyer can make all of the difference when it comes to winning your case, so make sure to do your research and choose wisely.
If you are convicted of a crime, you may want to consider hiring a different lawyer to help you overturn your conviction. You can check out this guide to learn about the strategies to overturn a conviction.
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- Be Polite and Remain Silent
When your charges are being read to you, it’s very important that you keep quiet yet remain polite.
The 5th Amendment states that ”You have the right to remain silent”. This means that when police are questioning you, you don’t have to answer their questions.
It’s a police officer’s job to try and get information out of you, and they’ll try every trick in the book to get you to relax and start talking. Don’t fall for their tactics.
You should never talk to a police officer without a lawyer present.
However, remaining silent doesn’t mean you should be disrespectful. Once you’ve been charged with a crime, your behavior is going to be under scrutiny, so remain calm and show respect to the judges and others in the courtroom.
- Understand Your Charges
It’s also very important that you understand your charges. If your charges aren’t read to you clearly, don’t be afraid to ask to hear them again.
In order to effectively fight your charges, you need to understand them inside and out. Once you hire a lawyer, they can help you better understand exactly what you’re being charged with and what you need to do to fight it.
- Take Down Your Social Media Profiles
If your case goes to trial, then the prosecution is going to do everything in their power to pick apart your character in order to win over the jury.
This is why it’s a good idea to deactivate or delete your social media pages during the trial. For example, if you’re being charged with child neglect or child endangerment, the prosecution may try to pull up pictures from social media of you partying.
Don’t give them this ammunition. Your lawyer can also give you advice on things you can do to clean up your character before the trial.
- Don’t Discuss Your Case With Anyone
The only person you should discuss your case with is your lawyer.
You shouldn’t post about your case on social media, or even discuss it with family members or friends. Something innocuous that you say to someone could get taken out of context and be used against you in the courtroom.
Keeping quiet about your case is the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen.
- Wait Before You Post Bail
Depending on your charges, the prosecution may try to keep you in jail while awaiting your trial.
For those who don’t want to be stuck in jail while they await trial, there’s the option to post bail. Once you post bail (aka, pay money to the court), you’re released under the condition that you agree to appear in court when required.
If you uphold this agreement, then your bail money is refunded. If you’re thrown in jail, your first instinct may be to call up a loved one right away to help you post bail.
What you should do instead is speak to your criminal defense attorney about to do in regards to bail. Your attorney may advise you to wait, as they can often get your bailed lowered or even get you released without having to post bail.
Also, keep in mind that a bail bondsman charges a fee, and with a lawyer, you’re entitled to a fee reduction.
- Prepare for Court
A lot of criminal cases are settled outside of the courtroom. But, if your case does go to court, you need to make sure you prepare yourself appropriately.
The biggest thing you can do in your favor is to show up on time for all of your court proceedings. Dress professionally for the trial, and stay quiet in the courtroom.
In court, you should only speak when spoken to. If you’re called to the witness stand, your lawyer will prepare you ahead of time.
Are You Ready to Fight Your Criminal Charges?
Now that you’ve read this article, you should be better prepared to fight your criminal charges. Hopefully, your criminal charges will soon be behind you and you’ll be able to move on with your life.
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