3 Steps to Take If You Have Been Charged in a Criminal Case

3 Steps to Take If You Have Been Charged in a Criminal CaseBeing charged with a crime is stressful and overwhelming. If you are unfamiliar with the legal process you may not know how important it is to ensure your rights are protected from the get-go. If you have been charged in a criminal case, the best defense lawyers in Media, PA recommend you take the following steps.

1. Do Not Speak to the Police

In the American criminal justice system, criminal defendants are supposed to be presumed innocent, but that does not mean that everyone in law enforcement takes the same view. Regardless of whether you’ve actually been arrested or charged with a crime, it is never a good idea to speak to police, prosecutors, or any other law enforcement officials without a lawyer present. Your words can easily be twisted to mean something different than what you intended, which can lead to serious repercussions that jeopardize your freedom.

If you have been detained by police, ask whether you are under arrest. If not, politely decline to speak, leave, and contact an attorney. Police are required to read you your Miranda rights if they intend to interrogate you. This lets you know that anything you say can be held against you and that you have to right to have an attorney present to defend your rights. If the police do not read them to you, anything you say typically cannot be used against you later.

2. Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately

When you are charged with a crime, the most important thing you can do to protect your rights is to hire an experienced Chester County criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Although everyone is entitled to a public defender, most of them are overloaded with clients and simply cannot give your case the attention it requires. They may advise you to take a plea, even if there is a good chance of winning your case in court. A private defense lawyer has the time and resources to thoroughly evaluate your case and advise you of all possible options.

Your criminal attorney will be present during all contact with law enforcement and prosecutors and advise you on whether or not to answer certain questions. They will also negotiate with prosecutors regarding bail and whether there is cause to have charges dismissed or reduced. This is an extremely important step in the criminal justice process. If you are facing serious felony charges, having a skilled defense lawyer can mean the difference between keeping your freedom and serving time in prison.

3. Keep a Low Profile

When you are in the midst of a criminal case, it is important to be on your best behavior to avoid further charges. Whether you are incarcerated or out on bail, make sure to obey the law. Even a minor slip-up can result in additional charges being added to the mix. Refrain from discussing the details of your case with anyone, even those close to you. Friends, loved ones, and acquaintances can be called to testify under oath, and can be charged with a crime if they commit perjury.

Following these steps can help you protect your rights and lead to a better outcome for your criminal case. Our West Chester criminal lawyers provide the exceptional legal representation you can trust and always keep your best interests at the forefront.