If you are accused of committing a crime, it can be overwhelming and frustrating at times to deal with charges and the legal system all by yourself. For instance, you will be expected to deal with prosecutors, your accusers, and law enforcement personnel on your own. This can lead to many confusions and potentially criminal charges due to incorrect legal actions in your case. If there are no actual charges against you, you might not take the accusations seriously. However, a pre-filing investigation can lead to charges being filed against you, as more evidence might be found later on.
Before criminal charges are officially filed against you, there are specific steps you can take to protect yourself from being wrongfully or unfairly charged with an accusation. Here are the steps you can take as soon as you are charged with a crime.
Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
Defendants who are charged with crimes are best served by hiring an experienced lawyer for their cases. Statistically, most criminal defendants are usually represented by a professional lawyer. It is challenging for defendants to represent and handle their criminal cases due to various reasons. As a criminal defense attorney in Orlando explains, before a criminal charge is filed against you, law enforcement might try to contact you and discuss your case informally. Even though this might seem casual, information exchanged at this time can be used against you in court. Therefore, it is important to remember that it’s in your own interests to defer any contact from the police or the prosecutor to your lawyer or legal team.
Aside from speaking on your behalf to law enforcement, your lawyer can further help you preserve crucial information and evidence for your case. This information and evidence are highly important for you to build a strong defense strategy when the time comes. You should hire a lawyer immediately to avoid forgetting or missing out on important details and information regarding your case.
Furthermore, an experienced lawyer can provide useful legal guidance that you need to know about your case. For instance, a lawyer can explain your options to you and guide you through the complicated legal process.
Have A Lawyer Deal with the Prosecutor
At the start of every criminal proceeding, there is a pre-filing investigation where a prosecutor might file serious criminal charges against you based on evidence from the police’s early investigation. During the pre-filing process, you should have a lawyer monitor your prosecutor to make sure unfair charges are not filed without oversight. More notably, prosecutors are generally more cooperative with a defense attorney than a self-represented defendant as well.
Organize Your Defense and Include an Alibi if You Have One
When you are accused of a criminal act, the sooner you have your case reviewed, the sooner and you can start building a well-planned defense strategy against the charges filed against you. With that in mind, the sooner you have a lawyer on your case, the stronger and more prepared your defense will be. Lawyers can help you review your evidence and contact law enforcement, as well as interview witnesses in your case to help strengthen your defense.
If you have an alibi, it is essential to include it in your defense strategy. Your lawyer can help you build an alibi for your defense to prove that you were not at the crime scene and, therefore, you cannot be the person who committed the crime. Your alibi can be supported with evidence and witness testimony.
Have Your Lawyer Speak to Witnesses
It is better for your case if your lawyer speaks to witnesses instead of you. This is to avoid being accused of witness tampering actively. A witness’s credibility can make or break a case. For instance, if the jury or the judge trusts and believes your witness, your case can be resolved quickly if you are believed to have not been at the scene of the crime according to their testimony. On the contrary, an untrustworthy witness can weaken your case dramatically. Due to the importance of witnesses, you are best to compose a list of potential witnesses and let your lawyer handle all the contacts. Moreover, witnesses are generally fearful of people with criminal charges. Therefore, witnesses will be more likely to talk to your lawyer instead of you. Have your attorney investigate and help you comply with procedural requirements to build your pool of useful witnesses well.
Discuss Options with Your Lawyer
Experienced lawyers can provide defendants with a more knowledgeable perspective in legal cases. Understanding what your options are and what is most likely to happen if your case goes to trial can help you make the most informed decisions. This is especially vital for defendants who are facing serious charges. If you are accused of a crime, your lawyer can help you understand what your charges are, what your accused crimes mean, what effects they can have, and the best steps to correctly handle the situation.
By understanding more about the legal system and the factors that can affect your case, and the resulting options you have, you can make the critical decisions that will impact your case from a place of knowledge. Legal cases can be very complicated, time-consuming, and stressful. Therefore, if you have legal problems and questions, you can have an experienced lawyer help you navigate and take the correct steps. Whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty, accepting fines or plea bargains, your attorney can help you in every stage of your case’s legal process.
An accused defendant who knows they are innocent sometimes makes the mistake of believing there are no steps to be taken or there is no need to hire a lawyer. However, even an innocent person can be unfairly prosecuted and charged with a criminal offense. To avoid hostile accusers and misleading evidence that wrongfully and successfully charges you, you need to have an experienced attorney by your side. If you are facing criminal charges, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
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