Common Mistakes to Avoid When Facing Criminal Charges

justice hammer and scale with handcuffs on the black background - mistakes to avoid when facing charges concept

Being charged with a criminal offense can be a stressful and emotionally overwhelming experience. Regardless of whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, a conviction can be life changing and result in serious consequences — including monetary fines and even jail time. If you’ve been accused of a crime, there’s a lot at stake, including your freedom and future. It’s crucial to be aware of the following mistakes to avoid when facing charges.

Talking to the Police

If you’ve been arrested and taken into police custody, law enforcement cannot interrogate you without reading you your Miranda warning. It’s best to invoke your right to remain silent and avoid talking with the police until you have had the opportunity to consult with counsel. Critically, anything you say to the police can be misconstrued and used against you in court — even if you’re trying to be cooperative, do not voluntarily participate in an interview without your lawyer present.

Not Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Representing yourself in the court process is one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when facing charges for a crime. Regardless of the charges that have been brought against you, it’s vital to hire a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Not only will an experienced criminal defense attorney have the knowledge and skill to effectively defend you, but they will also likely be able to secure a more positive outcome.

Failing to Understand the Charges and Consequences

There are a variety of criminal charges that can be brought in North Carolina, including felonies, misdemeanors, infractions, and violations. Each one comes with different consequences, penalties, and punishments, including monetary fines, varying jail terms, and probation. Failure to understand the charges can result in missed opportunities to adequately safeguard your rights or negotiate a favorable plea deal.

Talking About Your Case

A major mistake to avoid when facing charges for any crime is talking about your case with anyone other than your defense attorney. You never know who the prosecution will want to interview — or call in as a witness. In addition, you should avoid discussing your case online. The prosecution will likely be looking at your social media presence, even if you think your accounts are set to private. Since anything you post on your profiles can be taken out of context, it may be best to stay off social media while your case is ongoing.

Not Following Court Orders

Any court orders issued during the proceedings in your case must be followed. Court orders are directives from a judge and can include things like subpoenas, restraining orders, and summonses. Failure to comply with a court order is a significant mistake to avoid when facing charges for a criminal offense — and can result in being held in contempt of court.

Thinking the Prosecutor is On Your Side

While it is the prosecutor’s job to ensure justice is carried out, it’s essential to be aware that they are not on your side. Rather, the prosecutor’s objective is to obtain a conviction if they think you are guilty. A good criminal defense attorney will understand the tactics the prosecution will use and can create a strong defense strategy to challenge the evidence against you in order to obtain the best possible outcome.

Lying to Your Attorney

Being honest with your defense attorney is one of the most important things you can do in your criminal case. Not only can lying to your attorney harm your relationship with them, but it can also impact your attorney’s defense strategy. Notably, your attorney is bound to confidentiality and must adhere to a specific code of attorney ethics. Anything you tell them is protected by attorney-client privilege and cannot be used against you in your case.

Not Considering a Plea Bargain

In some situations, a plea bargain may result in the best possible outcome in your case. A plea bargain is a deal that is made with the prosecution to reduce the charges. But while it can result in less jail time, it can also mean forgoing your Constitutional right to a trial — and admitting guilt for the crime with which you’ve been charged. It’s vital to carefully consider the pros and cons of entering into a plea deal versus going to trial, based on the specific circumstances of your case.

Not Taking Your Case Seriously

One of the most critical mistakes to avoid when facing charges for a crime in North Carolina is failing to take your case seriously. No matter what the charges are, not giving your criminal case the proper attention can lead to additional penalties, diminish your defense, and reduce your chances of securing favorable results. It’s best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to have a full understanding of your rights and legal options — as well as the potential ramifications in your case.

Contact an Experienced North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been accused of a crime, a skillful criminal defense attorney by your side can protect your rights and ensure you understand the mistakes to avoid when facing charges . The Johnston County criminal defense attorneys at Reece & Reece, Attorneys at Law are committed to providing reliable representation for a broad scope of criminal offenses in North Carolina. Call (919) 300-1249 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help.

Categories: Criminal Defense