Being accused of committing a crime is always frightening, whether you’re guilty or not, prosecutors typically overcharge in order to scare people into pleading on a lesser charge. When you look at the charges they may seem insurmountable, and the number of years in jail like a life sentence. Never panic or just plead guilty, always seek the advice of competent legal help before you make any rash decisions. Here are some tips to help you decide when you should seek criminal defense attorneys or lawyers.
Relax, Take A Deep Breath And Survey The Situation
Whether you’re the one being charged or it’s someone you know, like a family member, it’s easy to overreact. The charges look ominous, the penalty absolutely horrible, and there are always liars involved, sometimes on both sides. Whatever the problem, it’s time to sit down and assess your options. Have they appointed a public defender for you? Sometimes they are decent lawyers, but many times they have hundreds of cases and are just helping people to arrange plea deals. If you’re innocent, you shouldn’t be coerced into pleading guilty just because you have no money or are ignorant of the law.
Do you have a criminal lawyer that you know, or a friend knows that they’ll recommend? You can ask your regular family lawyer, or other type of lawyer for recommendations but it is unwise to hire them unless they have experience in the criminal defense field. That’s not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but you need an expert, your life may depend on it.
A top criminal defense attorney will have investigators that can dig up witnesses that may be able to help exonerate you, or at least make you look less guilty than you already do. Other types of lawyers won’t have the experience and staff to get up and running on your case like a real criminal lawyer would. Any delay in taking action could be detrimental since witnesses need to be found and interviewed immediately.
Even If You Haven’t Hired An Attorney Refer To Them Often When Questioned
One key practice that many police detectives and investigators use is that, once they’ve given you your Miranda rights, they’ll keep asking you questions. While this is legal, you have the right to have an attorney present to limit the questioning and help you construct your answers. You have the right to not incriminate yourself, in other words, so don’t.
Every question that they ask you after you’ve been Mirandized, tell them you’ll need to ask your attorney, whether you have one already or not. They may ask you to sign extradition papers, take a lie detector test, or give your side of the story over again. After they’ve given you your rights, you no longer should offer any more information since they may be trying to trip you up and get you to admit to some more criminal activity.
No matter what you’ve been charged with, or how serious everything sounds, always insist on seeing your attorney first. We can’t stress this enough, whether it is a medical malpractice lawyer or criminal defense attorney, always see them first. Once you’ve made it clear that it’s your intention to only answer questions while your attorney is present, stick to it, don’t answer any questions they pose to you at all. Simply repeat, “I really should have my attorney present before I answer any more of your questions, thank you” you can be polite, but firm.