Being accused of a crime can be absolutely horrifying. What can be even worse is that you may know you’re innocent. Still, the choices you make after being accused of a crime and charged by police will matter a whole lot. What you do can determine whether you spend years behind bars or get to walk free after an acquittal. You have to think carefully, and you have to be strategic about your choices.
Don’t Talk to the Police
If you have been charged with a crime or believe you will be charged with one, one of the most important things you can choose to do is to not talk to the police. It may be your gut instinct to cooperate. However, you should ignore this. You have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. You can invoke this right and ask to speak to an attorney. You do not have to answer police questions under any circumstance.
Choose the Right Attorney
Next, you will have to find the right legal representation. However, you shouldn’t choose a general practice attorney or the lawyer who did your divorce. Instead, you need a criminal defense attorney. It shouldn’t be just any criminal defense lawyer either. It should be one with experience defending clients in cases involving the same kind of crime you have been charged with. You will also need a lawyer with experience with the judges and juries you are likely to face in your jurisdiction.
Tell Your Lawyer Everything
Your lawyer will be in charge of crafting your defense in court. As such, you need to tell that attorney everything. Even if you are actually guilty, you must tell your lawyer the truth. Even if some of it is embarrassing, you have to relate that information to them. You should leave out no minute detail. Knowing everything is paramount in regards to creating a rock-solid defense in court. For one, you won’t know how much the prosecutor knows. Your lawyer shouldn’t be surprised in the courtroom.
Collect Evidence and Find Witnesses
Part of a rock-solid defense is presenting evidence to factually prove you are innocent. If there is any evidence you are aware of that can prove your innocence, tell your lawyer so it can be preserved for your defense. Having witnesses that can vouch for you in court or provide you with an alibi is also crucial. Even if you don’t know who these individuals are, you should try to track them down.
Being charged with a crime can be terrifying. However, you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If you can craft a rock-solid defense with your lawyer, you can beat the rap and walk free again.
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky Snowball. You can find her on Twitter at @LizzieWeakley and on Facebook at facebook.com/lizzie.weakley.