Many defendants can handicap their own criminal defense in the early days of their case. Once you have made a critical mistake, you cannot take it back. It is on the record for law enforcement to use it against you as they wish. In addition, you can also make mistakes with other things that you can do or say away from the eyes and ears of law enforcement. Always hire an experienced criminal defense attorney at the first possible opportunity. Reach out to the lawyers at Hogan Eickhoff to discuss your case and learn about your legal rights. In the meantime, here are some mistakes to avoid making when you are in the criminal justice system.

Criminal defense and legal advice in Appleton, WI

Trying to Represent Yourself

Self-represented defendants have little to no chance of getting the best possible outcome in court. Not only that, but the prosecutor may offer you a less generous plea deal when they know that you do not have the wherewithal to fight them in court. You may not even know that the prosecutor has more room to offer you a better deal in plea negotiations. You would also have no concept of key parts of your case, such as the rules governing the admissibility of evidence.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is always worth the investment. While you are spending money, think of it as an investment in your future. Little good can come of trying to face the criminal justice system on your own. An experienced attorney knows both the law and the prosecutor involved in your case.

Speaking to Law Enforcement

Do not speak to law enforcement unless you have a lawyer and they have given you advice to talk (which they would very rarely ever do). Many convictions are won on the backs of things that suspects or defendants say to a law enforcement officer. If you talk, the prosecutor can use anything that you say against you to win a conviction.

You are not going to be able to talk your way out of trouble. There is an entire legal apparatus at work, and what you say is not going to positively help your legal defense. There are times when your lawyer may arrange for an interview, but you should only work with them. If you do not yet have a lawyer, you need one immediately.

Failing to Consider Other Consequences of a Conviction

You may be focused only on potential jail time as a consequence of your conviction, and you may be ready to plead guilty if you can receive a lesser sentence or get the matter to go away entirely. Jail time is only one possible punishment that you may face. Other rights you possess and aspects of your life could be threatened by a conviction, especially when you are facing felony charges. You will have a criminal record for life, and it is very hard to expunge a conviction under Wisconsin law.

You could also face the following consequences of a criminal conviction:
  • The loss of your right to drive (if you are facing charges involving your use of a vehicle)
  • The loss of your right to own firearms
  • Restrictions on your ability to vote
  • Losing your job (if the charges implicate what you do for a living. For example if you are a teacher, you may not be trusted to be around children in the future)
  • Deportation from the United States if you are not a citizen and you have been charged with a crime of moral turpitude)
  • Changes to your custody status if you have children

You at least need to be aware of the potential collateral consequences before you plead guilty. You may not even know everything you may face if you do not have help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Talking Publicly About Your Case

You may have the urge to say something about your case on social media or in another public forum. You may feel compelled to speak your side of the story to clear your name. Only allow your lawyer to speak for you. Anything that you say in a criminal case can and will be used against you. Prosecutors may use what you say on social media to impeach your testimony. Impeaching a witness can seriously damage your credibility, and it may even limit your ability to testify on your own behalf in a criminal case. When in doubt, listen to your attorney and resist the urge to say something. It can only hurt your own criminal defense, and what you say can almost never help you. It is only possible to win your case in court and not on social media.

Speaking to Potential Witnesses

If you try to contact witnesses to your case or your accuser, you could end up in serious trouble. Prosecutors will not hesitate to add a witness tampering charge to your case. In Wisconsin, witness tampering is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. This type of charge is the most serious non-felony accusation that you can face. In Wisconsin, witness tampering can be punishable with up to nine months in jail. Additionally, the judge may factor in other actions when they are sentencing you if you have been convicted of the original crime.

Any type of effort to interfere with the legal process against you can lead to serious punishment. In many cases, the adage “the coverup is worse than the crime” can come back to haunt you. It is best to let the legal process play out and allow your attorney to defend you.

Contact an Appleton Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal charges, reach out to the experienced lawyers and attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff today. We can get to the bottom of your case and help you determine whether there are any possible defenses to the charges against you. Schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney, or you can contact us today at 920-450-9800.