Whether you have committed a crime or not, being arrested is one of the most difficult situations you can face in your life. Sometimes the police may make a mistake and arrest you for a crime you have not committed.
Being charged with a felony is not something you should take likely since it can result in huge fines, long-term imprisonment, or both. Most people in such situations tend to confront the arresting officers, something that can make the matter worse. Even if you committed a crime by mistake, you should avoid confrontations with the police or try to explain yourself. Instead, you should follow the tips below to increase your chances of winning your case in a court of law.
1. Remain calm and polite during your arrest.
Staying calm during an arrest can be challenging for most individuals, especially if they believe they are innocent. Authorities may also be aggressive to you, especially if you are accused of a sensitive crime. The police may also start asking you harsh questions and may seem not to listen to your side of the story.
Even if you have not committed any crime or mistaken identity, you should remain as calm as possible during your arrest. Whether you have committed any crime or not, resisting arrest makes you look guilty and could lead to more charges being filed against you.
2. Exercise your right to remain silent
You may have heard the following statement in a movie somewhere “You have the right to remain silent and anything you say….” This is not just something fancy meant to add humor or make a TV show look good. It is a statement borrowed from the law and can play a big part in your case.
By remaining silent, you will be exercising your Fifth Amendment right, which allows you to refuse to incriminate yourself in a criminal case. It is highly recommended that you avoid talking to the police or explaining yourself without legal representation.
If you find yourself in custody, avoid answering any questions without your lawyer present. Sometimes the police might seem friendly and ask your simple questions sounds harmless, but this can be a trick to make you confess or provide information that could affect your case.
3. Call a lawyer as soon as possible
Contacting a criminal defense attorney is one of the essential actions that most people who have been arrested forget to take. Contacting an experienced felony lawyer immediately after your arrest is the best way of getting a fighting chance in court. Every moment in criminal cases is vital since it can become harder to gather evidence as time passes.
Hiring an experienced lawyer at the start of your case can help ensure that your rights are violated and also helps to prevent case manipulation through evidence and witness tampering.
In addition, when taken to you will be facing a prosecutor who understands all the technicalities of the law, something you may not comprehend. The prosecutor knows how to sell a good-looking deal, but in reality, it does not serve your best interest. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer will even give you a better fighting chance.
4. Understand the offense you are facing
Most people do not hire lawyers since they fail to understand the severity of the accusations and the potential consequences they face if convicted of a felony. There is a big difference between a felony and a misdemeanor.
In most states, a misdemeanor is punishable by a short jail time of about a year or small fines. A felony, on the other hand, is usually punishable by severe penalties such as imprisonment, hefty fines, probation, and drugs treatment. You may also be required to pay restitution to the victim of the crime.
In addition, in some states, individuals convicted of a felony may lose some rights once released from prison. Some of the rights that you may lose if convicted of a felony include the ability to get a license in some professions and the right to own a firearm.
5. Be honest with your lawyer
Sometimes you may be hesitant to tell anyone what happened exactly since the evidence may look bad or you are trying to protect someone. However, it is essential that you provide all the information to your lawyer so that he/she can prepare the proper defense for your case. Without all the facts, your lawyer may be caught off guard during your trial, and your case ends up falling apart.
Remember that any information you share with your lawyer is confidential, so you do not have to worry about any other person knowing about it.
6. Maintain a clear head.
Being charged with a felony can be very stressful, but you should maintain a clear head and cooperate with your lawyer. If your lawyer tells you not to discuss your case with anyone, comply no matter who tries to discuss it, including family members.
You should also avoid committing other crimes since they may be tied to your initial crime making your case look bad. You should also make sure that you attend to all your cases. Failure to appear in court could make you look bad, and in the worst-case scenario, the prosecutor could apply for a warrant of your arrest.
Hiring a lawyer will not only help you deal with complex paperwork but will relieve the stress of dealing with the complex justice system.