If you are facing any criminal charge in Washington, it pays to know the mistakes that many people in your situation make so you can avoid the same traps.
Sharing Information in a Documented Way
Whether it was on TV, in movies or in real life, you’ve probably heard what is known as the “Miranda warnings,” which always advises people that anything they say could be used against them in court. However, anything you can convey online—such as in an email or on YouTube—or via social media can also be used against you, and the same goes for anything you say in texts on your phone.
For example, if you have been charged with robbery, you shouldn’t post anything online that could connect you to where the crime took place. You should also avoid saying or doing anything—including posting photos—that could make it look as if you suddenly have more money than before.
Don’t contact anyone who is in any way connected to your case. It’s essentially not your role to tell the prosecutors or police what people they should be talking to, and it could lead to trouble in your own case. Keep to yourself as the case progresses, and avoid actively aiding any investigation.
Overall, keep in mind that things you put out there online or via text will be there for law enforcement to access later, and they will look in these areas to see if they can get evidence to use against you in court.
Talking to the Police
Going back to the Miranda warnings, it’s worth noting that they must be issued once you are in custody and the law enforcement officers want to question you about a crime. It’s usually done at the station following an arrest, but can also be done at the scene of the alleged crime if the police want to take you to the station. So, even before you receive Miranda warnings, you should not talk to the police at all. Once you have been given your Miranda warnings, it is best to immediately tell the police you want to speak to a lawyer – at that point, all police questioning must stop. Though it may sound weird, simply staying silent is NOT the same as telling the officer you want a lawyer. Ask for a lawyer, and do not say anything further. You need to speak to a criminal defense law firm in Lynnwood right away about what is going on.
When you talk, all you are likely going to do is answer questions the officers are asking you that are designed to fool you and make you appear guilty. This is why it’s important to not say anything to the police at the time of your arrest or even afterward. Don’t speak to any other inmates if you are held in jail, either, and don’t discuss your case on any phones there as your conversation may be recorded for use later.
You should only talk to your attorney, who has the experience necessary to advise you and guide you during this critical time in your case.
Not Dressing Appropriately in Court
While we have all been advised not to judge someone by how they look at various points in our lives, “judging” is, in fact, what the judge in your case will do. If you appear in court looking messy and/or not wearing appropriate clothes, the judge may view it as disrespectful to the court and treat you accordingly. However, when you appear clean and neat, you will have a better chance of the judge treating you more like a responsible individual.
Trying to Lead the Defense
Your criminal defense law firm in Lynnwood has worked for years in the legal field, and they have the legal experience you’re lacking. Listen to what your defense attorney is suggesting as they have the knowledge and skills needed to help craft the most successful strategy for your particular case.
Not Hiring an Attorney
Getting in the way of your attorney as they do their job is one thing — not having one at all is even worse. After you have been arrested, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. If you don’t, it’s very likely law enforcement and prosecutors will be able to take advantage of you.
A criminal conviction will have lasting consequences in many areas of your life, including employment, family life, and other aspects. Since the results of a conviction can also include fines and imprisonment, it’s important to avoid making mistakes and have qualified legal representation should you find yourself facing any criminal charge.