You may be in legal trouble because of a mistake that was made, either by you or the arresting officer. Regardless of how or why you are being accused of a crime, it is crucial that you know what to avoid doing moving forward in order to safeguard your legal right to a powerful defense.
Resisting from Arrest
First, you should be aware that it’s crucial not to resist arrest if you haven’t already been arrested but could still be. When faced with a crisis, like an arrest, the typical reaction is to run away or fight back. The worst thing you could do is that, though. Getting into a physical altercation with the police and inflicting harm could make the situation worse and result in additional charges.
Instead, when speaking with police, be courteous and respectful while also declining to provide information that could be used against you in court.
Giving Police Information Voluntarily
It’s best to work with the Police, but only to a certain extent. When they ask you to stand here or sit there, you should respond logically and reasonably, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to divulge any information that could later hurt your defense. You have the legal right to withhold your answers until you have spoken with your criminal defense attorney, even if you are not resisting arrest.
Interacting with the Arresting Officers
This is crucial because, even if you give the police your side of the story, speaking to them may cause you to accidentally reveal evidence that later proves to be incriminating. Police will question you in a way that sets up an answer that will be used against you. Remember this when you politely decline to speak to the police and ask to speak with your lawyer first.
Not Contacting a Criminal Defense Attorney
You probably don’t know much about how the criminal justice system functions, what to anticipate, and what to watch out for when facing a criminal charge, unless you’re a lawyer yourself. It is essential that you retain a skilled criminal defense attorney in San Luis Obispo to uphold and defend your legal rights throughout the entire legal process.
Your defense attorney might be able to bargain with prosecutors early on in the process to get the charge reduced against you. Depending on the situation, your lawyer may even be able to have the charge completely dismissed. If your case goes to trial, your defense lawyer may also act as your representative. Your lawyer can then fight for your acquittal there.
Interfering with your own Defense
Some defendants demand to participate actively in their defense because they are so convinced of their innocence. However, you should never attempt to lead or steer your defense, regardless of how persuasive you believe yourself to be. Your defense attorney has a duty to do that.
Keeping Evidence from Your Lawyer a Secret
In order to effectively defend you, your defense lawyer must be familiar with all the pertinent facts and details of your case as well as all the available evidence. Keep in mind that not everything you tell your lawyer will be made public during the trial. Even if you think something is irrelevant or incriminating, you should still tell your defense attorney about it because they will know how to handle it strategically.
You are not legally required to provide any additional evidence, just as you are not required to answer any questions asked by police officers at the time of your arrest. You don’t have to provide any of evidence, which can consist of a wide range of things. For example, you are not required to give samples of your bodily fluids or submit to a fingerprinting procedure without a court order. You are not required to hand over any personal items, such as your car keys or a laptop computer, to the police.
You shouldn’t speak to anyone who has accused you of a crime or who is connected to the investigation in any way, your defense lawyer will advise you. That might be considered witness tampering, which is a serious offense in and of itself.
Even worse, if the witness files a complaint and accuses you of tampering with a witness, the witness cannot later withdraw the accusation. Only prosecutors have the authority to drop charges; victims cannot. Leave it to your defense attorney to contact an accuser if clarification is required in order to request a charge reduction or dismissal.