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6 Common Legal Mistakes to Avoid When Facing Criminal Charges

— April 19, 2024

The decisions you make during this challenging time can have lasting consequences, so prioritize informed and strategic choices.

Imagine the pain and cost of losing a legal battle just because of an avoidable mistake! Yes, facing criminal charges can be overwhelming, and it is easy to make mistakes that can have serious consequences on your future. 

Therefore, regardless of your situation, you need caution and strategic decision-making to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case. To help you avoid common pitfalls, we have compiled seven common legal mistakes you should avoid if you are facing criminal charges.

Talking to Law Enforcement Without Legal Representation

One of the most critical mistakes you can make when facing criminal charges is speaking to law enforcement without consulting your lawyer. Anything you say to the police can be used against you in court, even if you believe you’re innocent. Remember, law enforcement officers are trained to gather evidence and their primary objective is to build a case against you. 

Without legal representation, you risk unintentionally incriminating yourself or providing information that could be misconstrued.  You have a right to remain silent irrespective of the behavior of law enforcement. Seek legal counsel before talking to them to protect your rights and ensure that the statements you make are in your best interest within the context of the case.

Discussing Your Case Publicly

The public space is open to everyone and it is never the right place to discuss your case.  With social platforms growing in popularity and usage, you can be tempted to put some details regarding your case on these platforms. It could be some valuable evidence or remarks that can later be used against you in a court of law. 

Therefore, you should be mindful of what you say online and in public forums. Discussing your case on social media or with acquaintances can backfire. Even seemingly harmless comments or posts can be misconstrued or taken out of context by prosecutors. Keep your discussions about your case private and limited to your attorney to avoid damaging your defense.

Underestimating the Importance of Legal Representation

The last mistake you can commit in any criminal charge is to underestimate the importance of legal representation. You should never debate whether you need legal representation or not. Instead, you should be asking yourself who is the most reputable attorney for your criminal charge. 

Legal battles are complex and you therefore need a skilled attorney to navigate on your behalf and avoid making costly mistakes.  According to a top criminal defense lawyer at Hanauer Law, you are better off working with a reputable defense attorney who understands the intricacies of the legal system in your area or rather, jurisdiction. A good lawyer will know how to navigate complex procedures, and can advocate effectively on your behalf. 

While representing yourself may seem like a cost-saving measure, it’s a risky decision that can have serious consequences. Investing in an experienced lawyer increases your chances of achieving a favorable outcome and safeguarding your future.

Failing to Follow Court Orders

When you’re facing criminal charges, it is your duty to comply with all court orders and directives. Failing to follow court orders in your criminal court case is a critical mistake with serious consequences. Disregarding court orders not only results in contempt charges, fines, or even imprisonment but also undermines your credibility before the judge, potentially worsening your case outcome. 

Moreover, non-compliance may lead to additional legal proceedings, prolonging the resolution and increasing legal expenses. Therefore, always stay informed about your court dates and any conditions set by the court, such as travel restrictions or orders to avoid contact with certain individuals. Your adherence to court orders demonstrates your respect for the legal process and can positively impact your case.

Accepting Plea Deals Without Legal Advice

Man in prison orange sitting with man in suit standing and woman sitting across the table; image by RODNAE Productions, via
Man in prison orange sitting with man in suit standing and woman sitting across the table; image by RODNAE Productions, via

Prosecutors often offer plea bargains to resolve criminal cases efficiently. While plea deals can sometimes be beneficial, accepting one without consulting your attorney is risky. An experienced lawyer will evaluate the terms of the plea bargain, uncover weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, or negotiate more favorable terms on your behalf. 

You may not fully understand the consequences of pleading guilty, including potential long-term repercussions on your record and rights. Therefore, rushing into a plea deal without proper legal guidance may result in unintended consequences.  

Failing to Document & Preserve Evidence

Evidence is key in a criminal case and it can be the difference between being pronounced guilty or innocent.  While your lawyer knows how to navigate and gather more evidence to add more weight to your case, try as much as you can to document any available evidence.  This includes gathering witness statements, preserving physical evidence, and compiling relevant documentation.

Work with your attorney to understand and identify valuable evidence for your case. Your attorney should also guide you to properly document and submit your evidence for review. Failing to collect evidence in a timely manner or overlooking its significance could weaken your defense and limit your options later in the legal process.

Wrapping up

Facing criminal charges is a daunting experience, but avoiding common legal mistakes can help protect your rights and improve your chances of a positive outcome. Remember, the decisions you make during this challenging time can have lasting consequences, so prioritize informed and strategic choices. To prevent mistakes and always be on the right side, always consult a reputable attorney before making decisions. 

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