Being charged with a criminal offense can put you in a difficult situation. Once you are charged, your mind likely goes in a million different directions at once, and you look for anyone who can help you make sense of what is happening. Unfortunately, others may take advantage of your worry and use it against you. It’s important to review some common mistakes to avoid if you’re charged with a crime. By doing so, you can be prepared and protect yourself.
Five Common Mistakes People Make When Charged with a Crime
There are a number of steps you should take after being charged with a crime, and there are a number of mistakes you could potentially make if you find yourself facing criminal charges. These slip-ups include:
- Waiting to hire a lawyer.
People who have been charged with a crime may wait to hire a lawyer until after they have been formally charged with a crime. In reality, you should find an attorney as soon as possible. You can take the time to interview a couple of criminal defense attorneys and find the right one for your case, but be sure to have representation as soon as you can. Having a lawyer on your side ensures your rights are protected throughout your entire case.
- Voluntarily making a statement to the police.
When police officers are investigating a crime and they believe you committed it, they will do what they can to get you to confess. Often this means they’ll act very friendly. They will tell you that they are on your side, and they need your help to catch the “bad guy.” They may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer present because this is just an informal meeting.
It’s important to remember that no matter how kind and understanding they seem, the police are trying to catch you. They want to earn your trust so you’ll talk to them. They’ll carefully go over your verbal and written statements to find any evidence to charge you. Remember that you have a right to remain silent, and you should absolutely exercise that right. Do not say a single thing until your lawyer is present.
- Submitting to tests without express permission or a court order.
The police may ask you to submit to a blood, breath, or DNA test when they first bring detain you. You do not need to agree, unless your lawyer says it’s okay or you are presented with a court order. If the police are asking you to take a test while you are being questioned but they don’t have a warrant, they cannot force you to agree.
- Withholding information from your lawyer.
Your lawyer is on your side. When you don’t tell them the whole story, you are making their job more difficult. If they don’t have all the facts, they are unable to give you the best representation. Even if you’re embarrassed or ashamed, you have to tell them everything. They are not there to judge you, they are there to help you.
- Resisting arrest.
Just because you’re not legally obligated to talk to the police, you aren’t allowed to act however you want. Resisting arrest, yelling, or getting physical with a police officer will only end badly. You could be hit with even more charges, or worse, they can use physical force to bring you in. This could lead to serious injuries.
Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime, you’re likely confused and concerned. Luckily, you can get answers and have some of your concerns addressed when you hire a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. At Spolin Law P.C., we take the time to answer your questions, explain the process, and give you some ideas of the outcomes you may face. We will also inform you about mistakes to avoid if you’re charged with a crime so that you can protect yourself in the future. Our extensive experience with the criminal justice system gives us the ability to fight for your rights and build the best defense.