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Important Steps to Take if You’re Charged With a Crime

— December 9, 2022

Be careful who you talk to about the charges.

Getting charged with a crime is severe and can lead to time in prison or time served in the county jail. There are things you can do during and after your arrest to ensure that you can avoid this outcome.

One of the most important steps you can take after being charged with a crime is to contact a lawyer. Your attorney can protect your rights throughout the legal proceedings.

1. Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Never say anything to the police officer who stops you. An officer will only want to know if you are guilty or innocent. If you tell the officer that you are clear and cannot say anything else, the investigation will focus on finding evidence of your guilt rather than exculpatory evidence.

2. Be Polite and Respectful

Even if the police act in a manner that makes you want to get angry, try to stay calm. Being respectful keeps officers from becoming suspicious of your motives or actions. If you are compliant, they will be more likely to be respectful of you.

3. Ask for a Lawyer

Even if you don’t think you have done anything wrong, your situation is not the same as that of the police officer. It is in your best interest to try and protect yourself with the help of a criminal defense lawyer so that you don’t get sent to jail or prison.

4. Don’t Make Incriminating Statements

The best way to remain out of prison is to stay quiet. If you have hired a defense attorney, they will know what to say and what not to say. Don’t risk saying anything that is used against you in court.

5. Stay Away From the Crime Scene

Police officers are looking for evidence linking you to the crime scene. Visiting or revisiting the crime scene is a risky activity that can increase the chances of leaving additional evidence. Furthermore, seeing a suspect at the scene of the crime only raises further suspicions for investigators.

6. Don’t Destroy Evidence

Do not destroy any evidence that can be used against you by the police. If you do happen to destroy evidence by mistake, make sure you tell your attorney about it before they go to court. It can help your defense by letting them know what to discredit during the trial.

7. Start an Immediate Investigation

For a defense attorney to prove your innocence in court, they need information as quickly as possible after your arrest. If your defense lawyer is unaware of the details of your case, they may not know what to say or do later.

Set up an investigation immediately after you are arrested to ensure that your attorney and your family have all the information they need as quickly as possible.

8. Attend a Court Appearance

Image of an empty courtroom
Empty courtroom; image courtesy of 12019 via Pixabay,

To see a judge, you have to show up in person. The good news is that by showing up in person, you can tell an officer at the jailhouse what happened when you were arrested and at any hearings that may come up later.

9. Protect Your Reputation

Be careful who you talk to about the charges. If you talk to people who can discredit you or make it seem like you are guilty, the prosecution will be able to use this against you in court.

10. Don’t Plead Guilty to a Crime You Did Not Commit

If you plead guilty, even to a lesser charge, you will go directly to prison. Never admit to something that you didn’t do.

Seek Legal Representation

These are the most important things to remember if you are charged with a crime. If you follow the steps listed above, you will be in a much better position to escape prison or jail. You must use your time wisely and get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to move forward with your life.

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