5 Ways to Avoid Confusion Before a Criminal Defense Trial
In life, it’s common to make mistakes, but sometimes are mishaps can have serious consequences. Even worse, sometimes they require the law to decide our fate. Nobody wants to be in that position. Remember: preparation is your greatest advantage in court. Otherwise, you risk jeopardizing the case. In this article, we’ll discuss five major mistakes to avoid before a criminal defense trial.
1. Don’t Talk About Your Case
Between the times you’re charged, and when you go to trial, it’s critical that you follow the number one rule: Never talk about your criminal case to anyone EXCEPT your attorney and his/her staff. Don’t forget, that everything you say, could be used against you in court. Even if you are entirely innocent, witnesses can be called to testify against you such as family, friends, or cell mates. Don’t take that chance. Be sure to take higher precautions, and deactivate all your social accounts to avoid posting incriminating evidence online.
2. Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
It may be obvious for some, but just to confirm: In a criminal defense trial, you NEED a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney. You wouldn’t go to a regular doctor if your pet dog were sick, would you? Of course not, you would go to a particular physician, specifically, a veterinarian. The same should apply to the court. A Rhode Island criminal defense attorney will have the expertise and experience to handle your case, and provide sound advice on how to plan out a strong defense strategy. Make sure to be completely honest with your attorney, even if you’re guilty. A good attorney will have your best interest at heart and will appreciate not being caught off guard in court by unknown information about his/her client.
3. Behave Yourself/ Bad Etiquette
Remember, you’re charged with a crime that requires a court appearance. Don’t make it worse by getting into even more trouble. Before your scheduled court date, keep yourself out of sight and out of mind. Remember the law is usually not in your favor when charged with a crime, so distance yourself from harmful elements such as unsafe places and petty friends. You may trust their judgment and desire to justify your case, but this will only leave more risk for them to become a witness. Keep your distance. Also, presenting a negative image can cause harm to your case. How you dress speaks volumes to not only the judge but also to the jury, who has a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Don’t give them more fuel to assume you’re guilty. Be sure to wear a clean, professional suit if you’re a man and a conservative dress if you’re a woman. Be well-groomed, get a haircut. Remove unusual piercings and cover tattoos. These little things will show to the court that you respect its authority and that you have the self-respect to present yourself properly.
4. Don’t Plead Guilty
Once again, one may find this obvious, but there are some cases where people just want to avoid the long and drawn out proceedings of the court and prefer to settle by pleading guilty. What many defendants don’t realize is that this confirms in your records that you committed a crime; therefore the court now has justification in giving you harsh punishment. Now even beyond that, there lie long term consequences. The confirmation of being guilty may lead to the denial of future jobs or credit. Depending on the severity of the crime; it may give authorities permission to search your home or property without your permission. Don’t put your livelihood on the line just to speed up the process. Understand that every little detail of evidence brought to court may affect your verdict, and you need to be aware of every single one.
5. Don’t Handle Your Court Case Lightly
While it is important to keep a calm and collected mind before going to court, one must not treat this serious matter as a slap on the wrist either. Weeks before court, you should be in constant communication with your attorney, confirming your defense strategy, and finalizing key points. Familiarize yourself with the main terms, lawyers and judges use in courts such as arraignment, bail bond, plea, and plea bargain. It’s better to know what these words mean, then to find out in the heat of the moment. Your court date is not a situation to be fashionably late too, so make sure to show up on time; if possible a couple of hours early. By doing so, you may be able to listen in on a previous trial and know what to expect on your own.