Handling your criminal case – If you have been charged with a crime, it is a serious matter that can have lifelong consequences. The level of involvement and care that someone takes in their case is really a matter of personal choice. The last thing a defendant wants to do, however, is have a negative impact on their own criminal case, and we see that happen all too often. What should you do when you have been charged with a crime, and sometimes more importantly, what should you not do when you have been charged with a crime?
In this blog, we will talk about behavior while you have a pending criminal matter. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
I have been charged with a crime, what should I do first?
If you have been charged with a crime, the first thing you should do is consult a criminal defense attorney. There will be many things to navigate through and there will be a lot of considerations that hiring an attorney will help you with. An attorney can help you in obtaining bail, educating you on the process, and giving you other important information. Some of that information includes but is not limited to: determining what potential sentencing applies to your case, and what other possible consequences you may face if convicted.
What should I not do when I have been charged with a crime?
When you have been charged with a crime, you shouldn’t talk to anyone about your case except your lawyer. You should not talk to law enforcement about it, you shouldn’t talk to friends and family about it, and you shouldn’t talk to the victim about it. You shouldn’t talk about it in public, you shouldn’t talk about it at home, you shouldn’t talk about in it jail. You shouldn’t talk about it in person, you shouldn’t talk about it over the phone, you shouldn’t talk about it via e-mail, text messaging, or social media.
Any statements you make about your case to anyone are typically used against you. Often defendants make admissions, and don’t even realize that’s what they are doing. The rules of evidence protect statements you make to your attorney, but conversations with anyone else are fair game. The simplest advice that you can get when you are charged with, or even just suspected of a crime is keep your mouth shut!
Is there anything worse than talking about my case?
Why, yes there is. Obstructing justice is worse, and can get you additional charges while also making your case harder to win. Some of the activities that defendants should avoid, for what would seem are obvious reasons include, but are not limited to:
- Interfering with the police investigation
- Keeping witnesses from being available to testify against you
- Reaching out to the alleged victim to and asking them to recant their story
- Bribing officials that are involved in your case
If you have been charged with a crime, let your lawyer handle things. Do what your attorney advises and don’t do anything regarding your case until you talk to your attorney about it.