What Can You Do If Faced With Criminal Charges?
Facing criminal charges is a terrifying experience, no matter the gravity of the offense. Even minor offenses require substantial attention and caution to avoid additional repercussions. Consequently, it’s essential to understand your legal rights and responsibilities if you have been accused of something heinous enough to warrant a criminal charge.
Even if charges haven’t yet been issued against you but there is an ongoing investigation into alleged wrongdoing, hiring a Georgia criminal defense attorney (or one in your location) and knowing how to prepare for whatever justice may come your way is essential. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize stress and help you make sense of what will probably feel like your world is crumbling around you.
Table of Contents
- 1 Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Who Understands Your Situation
- 2 Understand The Charges And Potential Consequences
- 3 Gather Information And Evidence That Could Help Your Case And Provide A Strong Defense
- 4 Prepare A Strategy With Your Attorney For The Best Outcome
- 5 Be Respectful And Cooperative With The Legal Process
Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Who Understands Your Situation
Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is one of the first things to do if faced with a criminal charge, regardless of how severe the accusation may be. Moreover, if you have been taken in for questioning by the police, you should practice your right to silence and never speak until you have a good lawyer by your side.
As you probably already know, anything you say, no matter how innocuous you think it sounds, can and will be used by skilled detectives to develop a case against you. While they might appear sympathetic to your situation, the police usually want to close the book on your as fast as possible and will sometimes twist your own words against you.
An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can assist you in understanding your rights and advise you on the best course of action. For example, this Hartford based criminal defense attorney suggests that a competent attorney can dig deeper into your case and possibly even get specific evidence dismissed if the police didn’t follow procedure, etc. They will also review your case and work hard to uncover any evidence that can be used to build a strong defense.
Understand The Charges And Potential Consequences
Unless you’re a hardened career criminal, becoming aware of your alleged participation in a crime is an overwhelming and life-changing event. However, when facing this situation, it is crucial to remain collected and attempt to understand the charges you are facing and all of the potential consequences.
Start by understanding what type of crime you have been charged with, i.e., whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. Depending on the severity of the charge, a conviction may carry jail time and hefty fines if convicted. It is also wise to determine what other penalties you may be subject to, which can help you develop an appropriate defense based on your individual case.
Your lawyer should help you with this process as they will explain the myriad of possible outcomes and what you should do to begin preparing if the evidence against you is substantial or the steps you can take to prove your innocence (although the onus is on the prosecution to prove guilt, you need to be aware of what you are charged with to help you defend yourself).
Gather Information And Evidence That Could Help Your Case And Provide A Strong Defense
You might notice a pattern throughout this post: a skilled attorney can assist you in numerous ways. Well, this position is no different, as they will be vital in ensuring that you have as much information as possible for your defense. There will be lots of data to collect, but the most common will be things like
- Witness statements
- Documents, recordings, or any other kind of physical evidence
- Alibi information
- Character statement
- Anything else your lawyer deems helpful in your case
It’s also essential to write down key facts about the incident in question, so you have them ready if needed. The aim is to create a strong defense against the charges brought against you, so you’ll want to make sure your legal team is aware of anything that could be used in court to prove your innocence.
Additionally, ensure you understand what potential sentences may be imposed should a conviction follow. Being fully informed of the possible consequences before entering a courtroom can help guide decisions regarding whether or not to accept a plea deal or go to trial.
Prepare A Strategy With Your Attorney For The Best Outcome
Preparing a strategy with your attorney will help you review the details of your case, examine any evidence that may have been collected, and analyze all potential outcomes. Moreover, it can actually help to calm your nerves as the more you begin to sift through the various aspects of the case against you; things will become less confusing and provide clarity to your agitated mind. Your attorney should also help you decide which defenses could be used if the case goes to trial.
A strong defense strategy can mean the difference between a conviction or reduced charges depending on the alleged crime and the circumstances surrounding it. Furthermore, by examining all related facts and timeline information, your lawyer may be able to reduce sentence time based on solid legal arguments presented in mitigation hearings.
Be Respectful And Cooperative With The Legal Process
No matter how frustrated you might become throughout your case, you need to remain calm and respectful of the process if you are to get the best outcome. This is even more important if you go to trial and have a jury that will be the final arbiter of your fate. While everyone likes to think that justice is blind, if you come across as a deviant, a jury is more likely to look at your case in a negative light.
Moreover, if you disrespect the other parties involved (i.e., the judge, law enforcement personnel, and the prosecution team), it is likely they will conspire to make your life more difficult than it needs to be. Consequently, being respectful can go a long way, and even if you are found guilty, the judge has the power to show leniency and may reduce your punishment (depending on the severity of your crime, of course).
No one wants to be faced with criminal charges and possible requisite penalties, but unfortunately, it is a possibility that can happen even to the innocent. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, it is best to seek immediate legal help from a qualified attorney who can ensure you have the necessary defense that you need and protect your rights. With the proper knowledge and resources, you will be able to navigate this difficult situation with greater confidence so that a favorable outcome may be achieved.