The criminal justice system can be scary, confusing, and stressful. Often, the first step in someone being brought into that system, is them being accused of a crime. The problem is people do not know what to do when they are accused of a crime. In this blog, we will discuss what to do when you are accused of a crime, or you think that you will soon be charged with a crime. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What to do when the police want to speak to you
Often, when the police suspect someone of a crime, they attempt to speak to that person. The mistake that the “suspect” usually makes is agreeing to speak to that law enforcement officer. People tend to think that they can “clear things up”, but it is a bad idea for several reasons, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Any statement that you make is admissible as evidence against you in a criminal trial
- The law enforcement officer’s job is to make an arrest – his job is not to “clear things up.”
- Often, the most damning evidence against someone is their admission to the crime, and oftentimes that admission is accidental.
- It is possible to be charged with additional crimes beyond that which you are suspected of based on the information that you give.
Who should I speak to about what happened?
Generally, you should not talk to anyone about a pending criminal charge except an attorney. You should not speak to you friends, family, strangers, or the alleged victims about it. If you end up being charged, anything you said to anyone can be used against you (excluding statements made to your attorney or certain other privileged statements).
The best thing to do when you have been accused of a crime, especially if you have been contacted by law enforcement, is to contact a criminal defense attorney. If you set up a consultation, a criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you on various aspects of the alleged crime such as the elements of the crime, the potential sentencing and collateral consequences, and what defenses are available. Most importantly a criminal defense attorney will remind you not to speak to the police and make things worse for yourself.
If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina State or Federal court or if you have been charged of a crime in South Carolina State or Federal court, contact us.