What you do after you have been arrested and charged with a crime could dictate whether you face legal consequences and how serious they are. You can help or hurt your own criminal defense based on your own actions. Regardless of the charges against you, there are things that you can do to put yourself in the position to get the best possible legal outcome in your case. Here are four tips for you to consider as you seek to build the strongest possible criminal defense in your case.
Hire an Experienced Attorney Immediately
You should never try to face the criminal justice system on your own. Law enforcement has seemingly unlimited resources that they can use in your case. You are up against an experienced prosecutor who knows the process well. Although they may have many cases on their docket, they know how to move along the ones that they are handling.
Prosecutors have a tried-and-true method that they use in their cases. Many may try to win a quick conviction by offering you a plea deal. It may or may not make sense for you to accept it. Before you would even consider a plea deal, you need to know whether you have a strong legal defense for your case. It is difficult to notice on your own. Many defendants see the machinery of the legal process working against them, and they may panic.
In every criminal defense case, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible after you have either been arrested or learned that you are being investigated. On your own, you may be prone to making mistakes that could be used against you in court. There is no grace for someone who said something that they should not have when they did not have an attorney representing them.
At the same time, your lawyer will immediately get to work to investigate your case and learn whether there are any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. At some point, you will have a sense of whether you can fight the charges against you.
Be Open with Your Attorney
When you hire your defense attorney, they need to be in a position to do the best possible work for you. It is vital that they know the details of your case, so they can prepare. Your attorney should not be surprised by anything that they learn elsewhere during your case. The lawyer cannot provide effective representation for their client when they do not know the key details of the case.
When your lawyer knows all about the case, they can begin to look for weaknesses in the charges against you to exploit. On the flip side, a lawyer has a legal right to withdraw from the case when they know that their client has been untruthful with them. A lawyer has a legal obligation to be truthful with the court, and they cannot present evidence that they know to be untrue. If they did, the lawyer could be risking their own career and ability to practice law.
Lawyers defend all sorts of clients, and they believe that everybody has the right to a defense, no matter what the charges are. Being untruthful with your lawyer could compromise your own ability to get an effective criminal defense.
Try to Remember as Much as You Can
Although you should not attempt to investigate your own case because it could get you into trouble, you should give all evidence that you have to your attorney, so they can investigate further. Although criminal charges are extremely stressful, you must try to think back about the facts as best as you can, so you can tell everything to your lawyer. If you have any physical evidence in your possession, make sure that your lawyer has it. Exculpatory evidence can go a long way in your case. If there is anything that you think can help you, such as pictures or text, make sure that you keep it in a safe place to give to your lawyer when you hire them.
Even if you cannot remember everything, your lawyer will do what they can to investigate your case. Before you can go to trial, law enforcement must share all the evidence that they attend to use against you with your lawyer. Once your attorney receives that evidence, they can go to work doing everything that they can to keep the prosecution from proving their case.
Do Nothing on Your Own
While you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest, you should not try to do anything on your own. For every criminal defendant, silence is the best course of action. Law enforcement may try to speak to you after your arrest to ask you questions. You should never speak to law enforcement without your attorney present.
Some defendants may think that they can talk their way out of trouble or “make things right” on their own. There is no such thing as talking law enforcement out of charging you or getting them to drop the charges by talking to them.
You should also not speak with anyone else involved in the case. You never know who has an incentive to cut their own deal with law enforcement by testifying against you. In addition, speaking with people involved in the case could be considered witness tampering and may be the subject of additional criminal charges against you. At the same time, you should also refrain from discussing your case with anyone. You never know who may be lined up to testify against you.
Call an Appleton Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff are experienced counselors who are available to you at all times. We fight hard to get the best legal outcome for our clients, providing legal services without judgment. If you need a criminal defense attorney, contact us here or call us at (920) 450-9800 to schedule a free consultation.