When criminal charges are levied, people have a lot that they stand to lose. In addition to losing their freedom, they’re also at risk of losing their hard-won professional reputations, their assets, their families, and their careers. Although some defendants are qualified to obtain defense attorneys who’ve been assigned by the local courts, hiring your own is always the best bet. Infinitely better than attempting to represent yourself, and far more likely to ensure a positive outcome than if working with an assigned lawyer, having your own representation can provide a wealth of benefits. However, no matter what your decision concerning legal representation may be, there are always things that you should and shouldn’t do to protect yourself.
Don’t Reach Out to Witnesses
Whether you’re guilty of committing the crime that you’ve been charged with or absolutely innocent, attempting to contact case witnesses is one of the absolute worse things that you can do. This remains true even if a witness happens to be a close family member or friend. You might think that you’ll be able to help this person see your position or better understand your claims of innocence. In reality, speaking with witnesses ahead of your trial and on your own can set you up for additional charges, and it will completely undermine your defense.
Don’t Discuss the Details of Your Case
It’s also a good idea to remain as tight-lipped about the details of your case as possible. Case details should only be discussed with your attorney. Try not to offload your stress by sharing information with family members and friends. Keep in mind that any statements you make in any environment or via any platform have the potential to be used against you. This is especially true when it comes to social media. Never make claims about your case or share details about your case via social media posts. Even if you delete a post that you’ve made when feeling especially emotional, there will always be a digital record of it. A single screenshot of a statement that was made in the heat of the moment can totally jeopardize your case outcome. In fact, criminal investigators are increasingly using these platforms to track, document, and prosecute criminal activities.
Keep Your Behavior Low-Key
Like many people facing criminal charges, you probably want to let off a little steam. However, while waiting for your trial, you definitely want to keep your social activities and your life in general fairly low-key. Having too many drinks at a bar can result in DUI charges, drunken altercations, and other incidents that will degrade your character and unnecessarily complicate your legal circumstances.
Never Make a Verbal Admission of Guilt
Many defendants spend substantial amounts of time being grilled by law enforcement agencies shortly after their arrest. No matter how much pressure you find yourself under, never make a verbal admission of guilt. Instead, state your right to an attorney and discontinue speaking. This is important to do even if you were arrested with actual evidence in your possession such as drugs or drug paraphernalia. Simply hold your tongue and wait for your drug charges attorney to arrive.
Always Negotiate With Your Attorney Present
In some criminal cases, negotiating plea deals is the best choice for defendants. However, plea deal negotiations are never a good option when defense attorneys aren’t present. An attorney can make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. Moreover, once a deal is reached, your lawyer will make sure that all of the related terms of this deal are duly recorded, and duly acknowledged by the judicial system.
Avoiding missteps when facing criminal charges is essential. Your actions and statements can play powerful roles in determining whether or not you serve time or face any other harsh penalties. With the help of an attorney, you can further increase your likelihood of getting the best possible outcome for your case.