First Steps After Being Charged Criminally
Being charged with a criminal offence can be a frightening and confusing experience. However, the actions one takes in the immediate aftermath could have a lasting impact upon their future and, quite possibly, their freedom. Ergo, a criminal lawyer, invites prospective clients and other concerned parties to read the following brief blog highlighting the steps individuals charged with criminal acts should take in the hours and days following their apprehension.
Establish The Official Record
After you receive blame, it is a good idea to establish an official record, which means learning the specific charges being levied against them and why. Occasionally, legal language can be vague or confusing for those lacking significant legal knowledge to understand. Ergo, an accused party should ask the arresting authorities to explain the charges and the criteria used to reach such conclusions.
One of the fundamental rights an arrested individual possesses is the freedom to remain quiet, and many legal professionals opine that this freedom should be employed. The accused party must realize that anything they say could be used against them as their case progresses. Ergo, they are cautioned not to discuss any aspects of the incident and certainly not offer a confession.
Keep Emotions In Check
After being criminally charged, actions could prove just as critical as words. Criminal attorneys recommend that apprehended individuals keep their emotions in check. Engaging in suspicious activities like fidgeting, glancing around or stumbling for words are red flags law enforcement agencies look to exploit for investigative purposes. In fact, such actions could precipitate searches or deeper probes into the suspect's history.
Moreover, those taken into custody are strongly encouraged to maintain a calm demeanour. Actions like shouting, loudly proclaiming one's innocence, making threats, demonstrating aggressive behaviour or being downright rude and disrespectful might not only diminish initial public opinion about the suspect but could ultimately lead to further charges against the said individual.
Obtain Legal Representation
The accused subject should retain the services of a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Those who cannot afford the hourly rates of attorneys employed at private firms can have a public defender appointed by the court or through various legal aid agencies. Regardless, consultation with an experienced defence attorney is crucial to the suspect's chances of being acquitted or facing lesser penalties.
Once the suspect and attorney establish a professional relationship, the lawyer can review the facts of the case and determine the most appropriate next steps. One cannot underscore how important honesty is on the client's part. Said individuals should clearly and concisely recount the moments leading up to a during the event in question, recall any witnesses or any potential underlying circumstances that either lead to or exacerbate the act in question.
Once a clear account is established, the legal team can determine to either formulate a solid defence strategy or consider encouraging their client to accept offered plea deals or attempt to petition the court to diminish the initial charges.
Maintain A Low Profile
Once the initial proceedings are underway, the accused individual should maintain a low profile until their scheduled court appearances. Laying low means not discussing the case with anyone but their attorney, refraining from troublesome actions or controversy and keeping off social media.
Attend Court Dates
Typically, the first court appearance the suspect must attend following arrest is the arraignment. Usually, this occurs within several days following apprehension. During this process, the subject will appear before a judge who will officially charge said subject with specific offences. Further dates and events, dictated by the court, are how involved parties decide to proceed with the case.
That said, court demeanour is crucial to those charged with criminal offences. Said individuals are encouraged to follow specific etiquette tips, such as wearing a suit or business clothing like slacks and a jacket, shaving and maintaining a well-kempt appearance, speaking only when addressed and restricting outbursts precipitated by negative emotions like frustration or anger.