9 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Facing Charges
Have you been charged or accused of a crime? Call Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A. right away. Now is the time to do everything right. But without a lawyer, you’re more likely to make common yet serious mistakes. Brett Metcalf can help you immediately. You can get on the right track and build a strong defense.
Here are Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Accused of a Crime
1. Talking to the Police
The best advice you can follow is to not talk with the police. If you’re arrested, tell the police, “I’m invoking my right to remain silent, my right to counsel, and I want an attorney.” Don’t make comments. Don’t answer questions. Say nothing until you have a lawyer.
When you’re arrested, an officer should inform you of your right to remain silent and have a lawyer. But even if an officer messes up and doesn’t say them, you still have them. They don’t go away.
Also, don’t voluntarily take part in an interview. The police might want to talk at your home or office. They might ask you to come to the station. Politely decline and say you’ll get back to them after consulting a lawyer.
If you are a suspect, the police are not asking to talk to you to help you or exonerate you. They already believe you committed the crime. Your explanation will either be construed as an admission of guilt or an attempt to deceive law enforcement. Do. Not. Speak. To. The. Police.
Why is it so important to keep quiet?
The police can use anything you say against you. They can lie and manipulate you. They can take what you say out of context or twist your words. No matter how smart, eloquent, or innocent you are, talking with the cops is a mistake.
2. Running Away From the Cops
If the police approach you, remain calm and polite. You usually can’t stop an arrest if the police are resolved to it. Running or arguing will only make the situation worse and could lead to additional charges.
Instead, cooperate with the police, invoke your right to remain silent, and hire a lawyer ASAP.
3. Contacting an Alleged Victim
When you learn who’s accused you of a crime, you might think you can change their mind. You might think talking with them will help clear up a misunderstanding. It won’t. In fact, the police might take it as evidence you’re trying to intimidate a potential witness, and they’ll use this against you.
This is particularly important advice if you’ve been accused of a sex crime. Never contact the alleged victim of a sex offense. You will only make the situation worse for yourself. You should also be wary of an alleged victim contacting you. They might be working with law enforcement to record your statements.
4. Talking with Family & Friends About the Allegations
It’s important to have a confidante you can trust. It’s understandable if you talk with your partner, parents, or best friend about the accusations. But keep your conversations about the issue to a minimum and only with your most trusted circle.
You don’t know who the police will try to interview or who the prosecutor might call as a witness. Talking with friends can backfire. It’s safer to stay away from conversations about the issue and hire a lawyer right away. Your attorney should be your confidante during a criminal case.
5. Using Social Media
You probably have at least one social media account. When you learn of criminal accusations against you, even if you haven’t been arrested or charged yet, avoid posting online. Don’t talk about the accusations online. Don’t make insinuations about what happened.
It’s probably best to let your profiles go quiet. Remember, even content not related to the alleged offense can be used against you. Funny posts or pictures can be taken out of context and impact how police officers and prosecutors view your character.
Check your privacy settings, too.
You can bet the police will look at your social media presence. Don’t delete anything without consulting a lawyer. But make sure all of your profiles are private to the public and that you know your connections. If you have many random connections that you don’t know in real life, consider disconnecting or not posting on that social media profile for now.
You might use your social media to earn money. If this is the case, call a lawyer to address how you should move forward with your social media work.
6. Leaving the State
Now isn’t the time to go on vacation or travel for work. Before you leave the state or even your local area, talk with an attorney. You don’t want to try and run away from charges. It won’t work, and you could end up with a warrant for your arrest. You also don’t want it to look like you’re fleeing. Talk with a lawyer before making any travel plans.
7. Throwing Things Away
You have a right to privacy—but only in certain places, like your home. You don’t have a right to privacy in your trash. Once you throw something out, whether on the ground or in your garbage cans, it’s free for the police to pick up or go through. So, if you see the police approaching you, don’t try to ditch something, like a small amount of drugs, by throwing it in a trash can or bushes. Don’t try to throw something incriminating away at home later.
8. Not Showing Up to Court
If you receive a court summons, like an arraignment – show up when you’re supposed to. Not showing up to court, showing up late, or not being polite to the judge while you’re there all make you look bad. It’s best to have a lawyer to represent you in any court hearing. But if you don’t have a lawyer yet, wear your nice clothing, show up a few minutes early, and be respectful.
9. Not Calling a Lawyer Right Away
Too many people wait until they’re arrested or arraigned before hiring a lawyer. The better option is to call a criminal defense attorney once you realize the police suspect you of a crime. The sooner you have a lawyer to protect you, the better. Sometimes this can mean sparing yourself from formal charges or being prepared for whatever charges do get filed.