If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, the criminal justice system can be intimidating and overwhelming. Many steps in the criminal justice process are difficult to navigate, from arrest to sentencing, and the consequences of making mistakes are severe.
You should educate yourself on the system and the common mistakes to avoid to protect your rights and increase your chances of a successful outcome in court.
Read on to discover more.
Failing to Hire a Qualified Attorney
Criminal law is complex, and you risk harsh court penalties without proper legal representation. A qualified criminal lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, explain your rights, and develop a strategic defence for your case. They can also negotiate with the prosecution to give your case a favourable chance in court.
Finding the right attorney is daunting, but it’s essential to research and choose the right one. Start by searching for attorneys who specialise in criminal law and have experience with your type of case. You can get recommendations from family, friends, or other professionals in the field.
Once you’ve found a qualified lawyer, developing open and honest communication is crucial. They must understand your case’s details to build a strong defence strategy.
Talking to Law Enforcement Without an Attorney Present
NEVER interact with law enforcement without an attorney present. Doing so is risky because anything you say can and will be used against you in court. Law enforcement is trained to manipulate and intimidate suspects to get them to incriminate themselves.
When you’re arrested, law enforcement will inform you of your rights, including the right to remain silent and an attorney. If you speak with them without a lawyer, you’re waiving these rights and putting yourself at risk.
A criminal attorney will protect your rights during interrogations with law enforcement and advise you on whether or not to answer specific questions. They’ll also ensure that law enforcement follows procedure and object to tactics designed to manipulate or intimidate you.
Ignoring Court Orders or Failing to Show Up for Court Appearances
When you’re involved in a criminal case, the court will issue various orders, including orders to appear in court, to provide information, and to follow specific conditions. Such court orders are legally binding, and failure to comply results in severe consequences.
For example, failing to show up in court is one of the most common ways suspects ignore court orders. This can be for various reasons, like forgetting the date, feeling nervous, or believing the case will disappear if they ignore it. However, such ignorance results in a warrant for their arrest, additional criminal charges, or even jail time.
To avoid these consequences, you should understand and take your obligations concerning the case seriously. Your attorney will clarify every court order to ensure you’re ready for the hearing.
Making Incriminating Statements on Social Media
In many cases, people make incriminating statements on social media which are later used against them in court.
For example, someone charged with drug possession may post a photo of themselves with drugs or post about a recent drug-related incident. Similarly, someone accused of assault may post about a recent altercation they were involved in. In such scenarios, the prosecution may use this public information to build a stronger case against the suspect, increasing the penalties.
To avoid making incriminating statements online, avoid discussing legal matters on social media and think twice before posting anything related to criminal activity. Similarly, be cautious about who you accept as friends or followers online because they can still see your public posts.
Protecting Your Rights
Remember, the criminal justice system is complex and ever-changing, so staying informed and seeking professional guidance is essential. By avoiding mistakes, you can receive a favourable outcome in your case and move on with your life.
So, take control of your situation, educate yourself, and don’t let slip-ups derail your future.