There is no doubt that facing criminal charges is a potentially frightening and stressful experience for anyone. It certainly cannot be easy and you are likely to face some intimidation or coercion from law enforcement officials that may prompt you to do something against your best interests. While you may like to take control of the matter, you should understand that self-representation is not the ideal way to go in this situation. Even if you have some knowledge of the law, it is a criminal case and even a slight mistake on your part can land you in jail. Obviously, you want to avoid that at all costs, so it is best to hire a professional and capable criminal lawyer to assist you.
The lawyer will take the responsibility of preparing a defense for you when you are facing criminal charges. While they are doing so, you need to know some of the dos and don’ts that you should adopt to ensure things don’t go awry. What are they? Let’s check them out below:
Things to Do When you are Facing Criminal Charges
If you are currently facing criminal charges, there are a few things that you should do and some steps that you need to take. These are:
- Hire a skilled lawyer
You should know that not all criminal defense lawyers have the same credentials or the same amount of experience. Choosing a lawyer to represent you when you are facing criminal charges is a process and you need to ask them about their experience in depending individuals charged with the same crime as yours, along with their experience in handling big cases.
- Be cautious of your social media postings
When your trial date is pending, you need to be cautious of what you are posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular social media platforms. In fact, it is a good idea to not post anything at all while your trial is pending. Anything you post could be used against you in court. Moreover, investigators and police officers can use social media for tracking your whereabouts before and after you have been charged and any information they obtain can also be used against you.
- Determine what defenses can be used
There are cases where one or more legal defenses may be applicable and your lawyer will be able to argue them. Bear in mind that in a criminal case, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor and they are required to demonstrate all elements of the crime that you have been charged with. If a defense is used on your behalf by your lawyer and the prosecutor is unable to meet the legal burden, then your case and charges might be dismissed.
- Explore all legal options
There will be a number of legal options available to you as a criminal defendant. But, considering the circumstances and fact, it should be noted that not all criminal charges can be legally defended. If that happens, you should consider alternatives like negotiating a plea deal or getting probation. This allows for self-rehabilitation, payment of fines and community service ordered by the court, as opposed to doing jail time.
- Ask about the charges and penalties
You need to be aware of all the charges brought against you, along with the potential penalties that might be applicable upon conviction.
Things Not to Do when you are Facing Criminal Charges
Sure, there are certain actions that you should take during the charging and arrest process, but as per the lawyers at missourilegal.com, it is important to remember, when you are facing criminal charges in Missouri, or anywhere else, there are some actions that you should refrain from taking. These include:
- Behaving disrespectfully towards the arresting officer
It is not a good idea to behave disrespectfully during the arrest stage or any of the other criminal proceedings towards the police and you shouldn’t try to touch or harm them. This will only end up worsening the situation and you will face additional charges of assaulting an officer.
- Offering additional information gratuitously
If police officers or investigators are asking questions, you should never volunteer any information unnecessarily. If possible, it is a good idea to have an experienced lawyer with you when you are being questioned.
- Not appearing for a criminal court date
When a criminal hearing or trial has been scheduled, you need to ensure that you show up on time. If your name is called in the court and you are not present, regardless of reason, a warrant may be issued by the judge for your arrest.
- Delaying in hiring representation
As mentioned above, some people may consider the idea of self-representation or may not immediately think about hiring a lawyer, for one reason or the other. This is a big mistake on your part because you are facing criminal charges and it is not something to be taken lightly at all. If you are facing criminal charges and have received a court date, you shouldn’t delay hiring legal representation for handling your case. Your lawyer will require some time to review the details of your case, talk to any eyewitnesses to the issue in question and then come up with a strong defense for you.
- Become belligerent in court
When you are in court for a criminal trial or a hearing, you have to behave respectfully and maintain the decorum of the courtroom. This means behaving respectfully towards the judge and all other courtroom personnel. When you are disrespectful to a judge, it essentially guarantees that they will not respond pleasantly and they can even choose to hold you in contempt, which doesn’t work in your favor. Therefore, this is something you need to avoid at all costs.
These are some of the things that you need to bear in mind when you are facing criminal charges. It is not going to be an easy experience, but if you have the right lawyer, you will be able to make it through.