What Should I Do If I Am Charged With A Crime?

Crime Jail

No one thinks it will ever happen to them, and then they are charged with a crime. Not only is it a traumatic experience, but it is also a surprising one. It is the element of surprise that makes your arrest even worst. Because you are unprepared, you have no idea how to react. Most people will only know how the legal system works from TV shows like Law and Order. Obviously, they aren’t the best references when you are fighting for your freedom. For the best chance of success, you need to react accordingly if and when this scenario occurs. Then, you will face a much easier process should the charge stick and it ends up in court. Here are the steps you need to take if you are facing a crime.

Keep Quiet

Before you call a lawyer or notify your family, you need to take stock of the situation. Most people react in a negative manner, and that inhibits their battle in court. As the saying goes, ‘anything you say can be used as evidence.’ You don’t want to lose the battle before it even begins, which is why you need to stay quiet. Anything they ask you during the arrest doesn’t require an answer. Even if it is an easy question it is best to bite your tongue. Police officers and lawyers are sneaky, and they will try and catch you out before your attorney arrives. Remember that your right to silence is in the constitution, and they can’t force you to speak.

Take It All In

The process of being arrested isn’t a nice one. It is for that reason that the people in question let it pass them by without a second thought. They are too focused on trying to prove their innocence or venting their anger. The problem with this is that you can miss vital cues from the arresting officers. There are certain criteria they have to fill if they want to legally arrest a suspect. For starters, they need a valid warrant to search a property. They also have to read you your rights. If they do neither, your lawyer can try and get the case dismissed. A lawyer will only do that if you rely them the information. That is why it is important to survey your surroundings.

Ask For Your Phone Call

There are some things on TV shows that are factual. The right to a phone call is one of them, so make sure you request one. You need to tell your family what is going on so that they can help. For instance, you might not have a lawyer. In that case, you will need them to find you a lawyer that can come down to the station and fight the case. They might just offer you moral support, which is comforting in your time of need. To be honest, you will need all the help possible. For that reason, ring someone you can trust to get the ball rolling.

Ask For Your Attorney

Do you have an attorney? Some people do and some people don’t, but you will get one either way. The right to legal counsel is a part of the constitution, and they can’t deny you that right. Even if you don’t have one, they will find you a public defender. As you probably know, it is better to have a private lawyer. In the world of law, the best lawyers are the most expensive ones. After all, there isn’t much money in working for the government. To find a good one, look for things such as success rate and courtroom manner. The best criminal defense lawyers all have these traits, and they make them very successful. Also, consider their ‘going rate’. A lawyer that is too cheap is one to avoid, but some are too expensive. Hire the best one within your budget if you want the best results.

Make Bail

The odds are high that the court will grant you bail. Unless you are a flight risk, they don’t want to keep you in jail. And, you don’t want to stay in jail. Fighting a felony is hard enough, but it is even harder when you are behind bars. You need the freedom to liaise with your lawyer on a regular basis without adhering to visitation rights. Also, you want to enjoy the comforts of home. Although they won’t make the charge go away, they will make the responsibility easier to bear. If you have the money, post it straight away. If you don’t, you can use the services of bail bondsmen. They put up the money for you, and you pay them back in the future. It is like a loan, but one specifically for people who want to post bail.

Don’t Annoy The Courts

Anything that the court says you need to attend, you need to attend. Whatever you do, don’t annoy the courts. They are the people that can revoke your bail and remand you in police custody. Anyway, attending hearings will be a condition of your bail. Also, don’t interrupt anyone during a hearing. All you have to do is let your lawyer do the work. It sounds hard, and it is hard because it is your future. But, that is the best chance you have of winning. You certainly won’t win if you piss off the judge before the trial begins.

Stay Calm

Staying calm is without a doubt the hardest thing to do when you are facing a crime. All of a sudden, you begin to let your mind wander and imagine the worst. Then, you panic and make the situation ten times worse. The key is to deal with the process one step at a time. You never know the final outcome until the judge or jury gives their verdict. Until that time, act with grace and dignity. Not only will it look better in front of the courts, but it will make your life bearable.

The pressure of a court case is big enough without adding more stress to proceedings.

Beth Jones is a valued contributor to various CosmoBC.com blogs.

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