Most Common Mistakes Made by Those Charged with a Criminal Offense

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Nov 22

Lewis & Laws

Most Common Mistakes Made by Those Charged with a Criminal Offense

by Lewis & Laws

Most Common Mistakes Made by Those Charged with a Criminal Offense

Being charged with a criminal offense can be a very frightening, stressful occurrence, and when we are stressed or frightened we tend to make mistakes. Unfortunately, when talking about being charged with a crime, these mistakes can cause severe repercussions. The following are the most common mistakes made by those charged with a crime.

Allowing a search of your home or vehicle without benefit of a warrant.

The U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable search and seizures, and in most cases, the police are forbidden from entering your home or searching your vehicle without a search warrant. Unfortunately, many people may give consent for police to search their home or car without a warrant, which is always a mistake. Even if you believe there is nothing in your home or car which would incriminate you, never consent to a search without a warrant.

Talking to the Police.

The U.S. Constitution also gives you the right to remain silent, and in almost every case, you should not speak to the police until your attorney arrives. Police use such statements as "If you just tell us what happened, then you can go home" or "You don't need an attorney" or even "This will work out better for you without an attorney present". All of these statements are nothing more than police ploys to get you to talk.

Remember: "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." Far too many people believe if they could just explain, then the issue would be over—this is almost never true.  Politely tell the police you are invoking your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney, then stop talking.

Resisting arrest or being impolite to the police.

Never give the police a reason to use force or violence against you, and never escalate an already-tense situation by resisting arrest. Do your best to remain calm and start thinking about legal representation.

Voluntarily offering fingerprints, bodily fluids, clothing or even handwriting.

You are not required under the law to provide any of these items voluntarily without a court order or your attorney's express permission. Once given, these items cannot be taken back and will be used against you.

Voluntarily agreeing to a polygraph test.

Because they are notoriously unreliable, polygraphs are inadmissible in court. Unless your attorney directs you to do so (usually as a grand jury strategy) never voluntarily submit to a polygraph.

Waiting until the last minute to hire a criminal defense attorney.

Far too many people want to believe the criminal charges against them will go away if they talk to the prosecutor. This is never the case. Do not hide your head in the sand. Instead, obtain experienced legal representation as soon as you are charged—or even if you think you might be under investigation.

Keeping information from your attorney.

When you fail to give your attorney all the facts, you are severely handicapping your defense. If your attorney does not know all the facts of your case, he or she may be surprised during a trial, with no way to fight for you because of a lack of information.

Talking to others about your charges.

Unfortunately, while the law may be innocent until proven guilty, the court of public opinion tends to operate in reverse. Do not discuss your charges with anyone other than those in your very closest circle (spouse, parents, children), and only discuss the allegations with these people if you are certain the information will go no further.

Demanding to testify at trial, then not telling the truth.

Criminal defense attorneys will almost always work hard to win the case without having you testify, because it is tough to look good on the witness stand, even if you are not guilty. Juries tend to be skeptical of anything said by a person charged with a crime, so always follow your attorney's advice regarding testifying at your trial.

Making telephone calls from jail (and saying foolish, incriminating things during the call).

Even though most prisons have signs which inform inmates that calls are being recorded, you would likely be shocked to know how many people disregard those signs and say incriminating things on the phone while in jail.  Just…don't. In the same vein, do not discuss your charges with anyone else in jail.

Posting on social media.

It should go without saying, but in our social media-crazed society, many people still see no issue with posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites information about their charges. Once the information is out there, it cannot be taken back, and social media can be used against you during your trial. Again, just…don't

Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with a crime? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC.

If you have been charged with a crime in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Everett, or anywhere in the state of Washington, a mistake could result in time behind bars. Contacting an experienced Seattle criminal defense lawyer is the key to fighting severe charges and avoiding grave errors that could jeopardize your future. Let the criminal defense lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC fight aggressively for you and your future. Our lawyers have successfully defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!



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