Steps to Take If You’ve Been Charged with a Crime

The actions you take after being charged with a crime can substantially impact the outcome of your case. For example, speaking with investigators could provide them with information the prosecutor can use to attempt to prove your guilt. Whereas working with an attorney can allow you to safeguard your rights and facilitate a fair justice process.

Unfortunately, some people might not be aware of what they should or shouldn’t do when facing criminal charges. This can cause them to make missteps. Errors or misunderstandings at any part of a case can lead to severe consequences, such as additional charges or harsher penalties.

This blog discusses some steps to consider when involved in a criminal matter.

If you need help with a criminal case in Los Angeles, speak with one of our attorneys at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP by calling (800) 462-7160, or submit a contact form, and we’ll respond promptly.

Remain Calm

Staying calm in a stressful situation can be difficult. This is especially true when charged with a crime because there are a lot of unknowns, and your future is at stake. If you're facing serious accusations, it's natural to feel scared and overwhelmed. Still, it is important to try to remain levelheaded and remember that you have the right to defend yourself and pursue a just outcome.

You can do a couple of things to maintain your composure after being accused of an offense. Speak with a lawyer. They can help you understand the situation and your legal options. They can also investigate the allegations and build a defense on your behalf.

Keep a cool head and remember that an accusation is not the same as a conviction. The prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and you can counter their arguments to attempt to weaken their case against you.

Refrain from Speaking to the Police Until You Have an Attorney

Contrary to how officers might make you feel, you do not have to answer any questions officials ask you without an attorney present. In fact, it is your constitutional right to stay silent and receive the assistance of counsel.

It is almost always in your best interest not to speak to authorities. Anything you say – even if you think you are just making small talk or passing the time – can and will be used against you. Speaking to authorities will not benefit your case.

If investigators want to question you, contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. They can advise you on what statements to give – or not give – to the police.

Be Cooperative but Not Talkative

If you are facing criminal accusations, cooperate with the investigation. However, refrain from answering any questions that could incriminate you. The officers may be demanding and blunt. They might want to get a rise out of you, but it is important not to argue with them or resist them. Doing so could make things harder for you, and you could face an additional criminal charge.

Likewise, do not lie to the officers. Any statements you make could come back during your case and be used against you. If law enforcement officials try to question you about the allegations, tell them politely that you are exercising your right to remain silent.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing criminal charges is a harrowing experience. If you have been accused of a crime, getting in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is essential. Defense lawyers understand the law and have extensive legal training.

Your attorney can use their knowledge and skills to protect your rights and guide you through the judicial system. They can also help you understand your charge and the legal avenues you could pursue. By providing information tailored to your situation, your lawyer can assist in making confident choices about how to proceed. Additionally, they can investigate your case to build your defense and seek a favorable outcome inside and outside the courtroom.

Prepare for Court Hearings

It is important to take the necessary steps to prepare for your court hearings.

Some of the things you can do include the following:

  • Gather evidence to support your defense. This may include paperwork, messages, photos, and other relevant materials.
  • Write down your side of the story, which can enable you to provide an accurate account of what happened or demonstrate how you could not be the perpetrator.
  • Provide your lawyer with relevant information. This will allow them to build a strategic and comprehensive defense for you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the legal process to help understand expectations and alleviate some of your worries. Your attorney can help with this.

Reach Out to Us Today

You might feel overwhelmed and scared if you have been charged with a crime. Still, you can take steps to remain composed and avoid doing things that could be detrimental to your case. A criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and be your support during interactions with law enforcement officials and through the justice process.

At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we recognize how difficult a brush with the law can be. We are here to help those accused of crimes in Los Angeles. Contact us at (800) 462-7160.