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8 Mistakes You Need To Avoid When Accused of Committing a Crime

Being accused of committing a crime is a daunting experience.

With the penalties and consequences of a criminal conviction hanging over your head, it’s but normal to be worried about your immediate future.

Still, let’s not forget that anyone accused of a crime will always be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

If you want to raise the chances of a favorable result in your criminal case, you need to avoid making the following mistakes.

1. Not Shutting Up

If the arresting officer tells you that “you have the right to remain silent,” take that advice to heart.

While you have a legal obligation to answer questions from police officers regarding your basic personal details like your name, there is no need to supply them with information pertaining to the criminal case in which you’re a suspect.

Like the Miranda line says, “anything you say can and will be used against you.”

So, no matter what the police ask about the case, invoking your right to remain silent will always be in your best interest. Talking to the police only raises the risk of you saying something self-incriminating.

2. Not Lawyering Up Immediately After Arrest

In the 24 hours that police are legally allowed to keep you in custody without charging you with a crime, you will be subjected to questioning because that’s what cops do.

Again, not saying anything at all is the best course of action, but police interrogators are trained to get you talking and saying something they can use against you.

That’s why you need to insist that you are not going to talk to the police unless you have your lawyer present, that is, if you do have an attorney in mind.

With your lawyer by your side, you’ll have someone to advise you which questions to answer and which ones to ignore, among other things.

Your lawyer can also question or block any attempt to get you to submit to breath, blood, or DNA tests without a court order. Unless your attorney says it’s okay, you should never agree to getting any of the above tests done.

3. Representing Yourself

While everyone has the right to represent themselves in court, not too many people do so, for the simple reason that their knowledge of the law and judicial processes is superficial at best.

For the best possible outcome, you’re going to need a criminal defense attorney, preferably someone who specializes in cases like yours.

If you got pinched for drunk driving, a DUI attorney is in the best position to help you. Did you threaten someone with physical harm? If so, then you’re going to need an experienced assault lawyer, and so on.

4. Missing Court Dates

Whatever you do, never forget or intentionally miss a court date.

You’re already (presumably) out on bail, and a judge can easily punish a no-show with an immediate order for your re-arrest, and that will really hurt your case.

5. Showing Any Form of Disrespect to The Court

One of the easiest ways to sabotage your case is to disrespect the court hearing it.

Disrespect comes in different forms. Being impolite or uncourteous to the judge is one. Showing up unkempt and in shabby clothing is another. Display any hostility to the judge, and you’ll have a surefire ticket to a contempt of court charge.

Always look presentable and be on your best behavior when in front of a judge.

6. Saying Too Much On Social Media

You can always post whatever you want on social media.

However, keep in mind that anything you say on Facebook and Twitter can and will be used against you in some way, especially if your public posts—and private messages, which a judge can compel you to show in court—are relevant to your case.

It’s best to refrain from posting on your social media accounts while your case is ongoing.

7. Contacting Your Accuser

Let’s assume that you’re being accused of a sex crime, and you believe that the whole thing is just a huge misunderstanding, so you decide to contact your accuser to clear things up.

Whatever you do, never call, or worse, visit your accuser. Such an act will most likely be construed as an attempt to intimidate the person pinning the crime on you, and that will only be used against you.

8. Getting Arrested Again

Few things are worse than getting arrested for another alleged criminal act while awaiting trial on a separate criminal charge.

Your most recent arrest may have no bearing on your current case. Still, if you find yourself convicted on the first charge, the judge could take your second arrest into account when drawing up your sentence.

For example, you could end up missing out on more lenient penalties like diversion programs for first-time DUI offenders, because the judge had no inclination to give it to you because of your recent arrest.

These are just some of the common mistakes people make when accused of a crime. While facing criminal charges is never easy, you can make it easier on yourself by avoiding them as much as possible.

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