Being arrested is stressful and challenging, and the decisions you make immediately afterward can greatly affect how your case resolves. In my 10 years of practicing criminal defense, I have witnessed many individuals unintentionally mess up their defense by making mistakes after their arrest. In this blog post, I will go over some of the most common mistakes to avoid after an arrest to help you protect your rights, ensure a fair legal process, and safeguard your future.
Mistake #1: Talking to the Police Without Legal Counsel
One of the most important rights you have is the right to remain silent. Anything you say to the police can and will be used against you in court. It is vital to exercise this right and politely ask for an attorney before answering any questions. Even innocent statements can be misinterpreted or used against you later, so it is best to not say anything without an attorney.
Mistake #2: Providing Too Much Information
Do not provide more information to law enforcement than is absolutely necessary. You have the right to know the charges against you but avoid elaborating on details or offering explanations without your attorney present. Only give personal information and let your attorney handle talking with the authorities about the facts of what happened.
Mistake #3: Not Hiring an Attorney
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking you know how the system works and you do not need an attorney. A skilled attorney can protect your rights, build a strong defense, file proper motions, and guide you through the complex legal process. Seek legal representation as soon as possible after your arrest.
Mistake #4: Telling the judge my side of the story will help me get home faster.
Your right to remain silent goes way beyond the arrest. It lasts throughout all court proceedings. In my 10 years as a criminal defense attorney, I have seen multiple defendants go into court thinking they can talk with the judge and everything will be okay. The judge will understand and let me go. That is not how it works. The judge does not represent you and cannot dismiss your charges because you told him or her your side of the story. When you do this all you are doing is weakening your defense and making it more likely that you will not get a good outcome for your case. What you say in court can impact the outcome of your case, so let your attorney do all the talking unless you are properly prepped to speak in court by an attorney.
Mistake #5: Failing to Gather Information
After an arrest, it is very important to document everything related to the incident. This includes taking note of the arresting officers’ names and badge numbers, gathering contact information for any witnesses, and preserving any evidence that may be relevant to your case. These details can be very helpful in building your defense.
Mistake #6: Discussing Your Case on Social Media
Do not and I repeat, do not, talk about your arrest or legal situation on social media. Anything you post can be used as evidence against you. One way that law enforcement and prosecutors build their case is to monitor your online activity.
Mistake #7: Missing Court Dates
Missing court can result in a warrant for your arrest. Mark your court dates on a calendar and make getting there your top priority. If you think you might be late or not able to make it, let your law know immediately.
An arrest is a critical moment in your life, and the decisions you make afterward can have far-reaching consequences. By avoiding these common mistakes and seeking professional legal representation, you can greatly improve your chances of a favorable outcome in your criminal case. Remember that you have rights, and protecting those rights should be a top priority during this challenging time.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges and needs expert legal guidance, please do not hesitate to contact William L. Donley III, Esq. at Donley Law Firm, an experienced criminal defense attorney dedicated to defending your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case. Your future and freedom are worth protecting.