Being charged with a crime can be a very overwhelming experience. Not only are you facing possible jail time and fines, but you are also dealing with the stress of the criminal justice system. It is important to remember that you are not alone and there are things you can do to help yourself through this process.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to keep calm and take some specific actions to protect your rights. This article will outline four key things you must do if you want to ensure the best possible outcome after being charged with a crime.
Find the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in the City
While it may be tempting to try to represent yourself or go with the first lawyer you find, this is not always the best decision. The stakes are high when facing criminal charges and you will want to make sure you have the best possible representation. If you live in Phoenix, depending on the severity of the crime you are being charged with, you may be facing a mandatory prison sentence. In these cases, you will want to find the best criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ that you can. Not only will you want someone who is experienced in criminal law, but you will also want someone familiar with the specific court system in which your case will be tried, so make sure to work with local counsel.
Understand the Charges Against You
The next thing you should do is take some time to understand the charges against you. This may seem like a fairly straightforward task, but it is important to make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are being charged with and what the potential penalties are. In some cases, you may be facing multiple charges, so it is important to understand each one. You should also be aware that the charges against you can change as your case progresses. For example, if new evidence is discovered or if witnesses change their statements, the prosecutor may choose to file additional or different charges against you.
Do Not Talk to the Police
After you have been charged with a crime, the police will likely try to question you about the incident. You must understand your rights in this situation and exercise them. You have the right to remain silent and you should take advantage of that right. Anything you say to the police can be used against you in court, so it is best not to say anything at all. If the police do try to question you, politely tell them that you would like to speak to your lawyer first. If you are arrested, you should still exercise your right to remain silent and ask to speak to your lawyer first.
Be Open and Honest With Your Lawyer
Once you have retained a lawyer, you must be open and honest with them about your case. This is the only way they can effectively represent you. You should tell them everything you know about the incident, even if it seems minor or unimportant. It is also important to be honest about everything including your criminal history, the use of drugs or alcohol, and anything else that may be relevant to your case. Since these things can have an impact on your case, your lawyer needs to be aware of them so they can properly advise you. If you are not honest with your lawyer, they may not be able to properly defend you.
While it might seem like being charged with a crime is the end of the world, it is important to remember that you still have rights and there are things you can do to protect yourself. By following the four steps outlined above, you can give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome, so make sure not to overlook them.