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I Have Been Charged With A Crime. What Should I Do?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you have been charged with a crime, or you think you may be the subject of a criminal investigation, it is in your best interest to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney. It is better to seek legal advice sooner rather than later, so your attorney can protect you from making critical errors that could have a devastating effect on the outcome of your case.

There are nine actions you should take if charged with a crime:

  1. Exercise your right to remain silent.
  2. The Fifth Amendment gives everyone the right to refuse to incriminate themself in a criminal case. That simply means you have the right to refuse to answer questions or discuss anything until you have an attorney present.

    Whatever YOU say is admissible in a trial. Whatever YOUR LAWYER says for you is NOT admissible. Your lawyer can serve as a “mouthpiece” that communicates your side of the story and at the same time protect you from making an admissible statement. Why would you risk speaking with the police when there is an expert available to strategically speak on your behalf and protect your rights?

  3. Stay quiet, calm, and polite.
  4. If you are taken into custody, do your best to maintain your composure. You do not need to become hostile. Simply exercise your right to remain silent. Politely inform the police that you are exercising your fifth amendment rights.

  5. Call an attorney.
  6. Every minute you spend in custody without an attorney by your side puts you at greater risk, so contact a qualified criminal defense attorney the moment you are charged with a crime.

  7. Do not post bail until you have spoken with a lawyer.
  8. It is common for a loved one to post bail for a family member after an arrest. While it is understandable that your loved one is incredibly concerned and wants you out of jail, this is potentially a very bad idea. It can be especially damaging in a felony case.

    You should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer before posting bail, so they can assist you in making the best decision and potentially save you thousands of dollars.

  9. Be honest with your attorney.
  10. Your attorney will need complete and accurate information about your case in order to prepare the absolute best defense for you. It is important that you are 100% honest with your attorney. Many people are afraid to share details with an attorney, but rest assured your attorney is required to keep everything you divulge confidential. They are bound by attorney-client privilege and risk losing their license to practice law if they share the details you have told them with anyone else.

  11. Avoid talking to friends and family about the arrest.
  12. While the information you share with your attorney is confidential that is not the case with details you choose to share with friends or family. Remember, anything you talk to friends about can be used against you in the courtroom. It is best to tell your friends and family that you cannot talk about your case until it is resolved.

  13. Make notes of what you remember.
  14. If you are accused of a serious crime it is imperative that you write down all the facts of the situation as soon as possible. Writing down the facts will keep them fresh in your mind and ensure you have them ready to share with your attorney. Be sure to include where you were when the crime took place and who you were with.

  15. Make a list of all witnesses.
  16. When you are writing down the facts of the situation be sure to write down the names and contact information of anyone that can testify on your behalf.

How can I avoid a lifetime of problems from my recent arrest?

Having a criminal record will affect many areas of your life for years to come. Even a minor criminal offense on your record can impact you in the following areas:

  • Driver’s license restrictions
  • Pilots’ and medical licenses
  • Security
  • Your employer has the right to fire you if you miss work to go to court
  • Most employers require criminal background checks, making it more difficult to find employment
  • Rights to own a firearm
  • Serving time in prison can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Lease agreements
  • Mortgage Loans
  • Child custody and visitation
  • More severe penalties for future criminal convictions, even for minor offences

One of the best choices you can make for your future is to hire a qualified Orange criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the local court system, judges, and other attorneys. Having firsthand knowledge of the other parties involved in your case will help your attorney as he fights to get your charges reduced or dropped. Attorney Bearden is both a judge and an experienced criminal defense attorney and has a proven track record of successfully defending his clients against criminal charges.

Having attorney Bearden on your side from the very beginning enables him to build a stronger case for your defense.

Jim Sharon will advise you so that you do not mistakenly say the wrong thing to the police or other law enforcement. Often individuals believe they can explain their side of the story in a way that will protect them. They may speak to others, including the police, about the case and then find themselves in a very difficult situation with the potential for a disappointing outcome.

The police are trained to gather statements from you that they can, and likely will, use against you. They may even lie to you in the interest of garnering information that may incriminate you. When you are under investigation, law enforcement is not looking out for your interests. Having a criminal defense attorney by your side will protect you from making a devastating mistake that could alter your future.

The best action to take if charged with a crime is to hire an Orange County criminal defense attorney immediately.

You can improve your chances of dismissal or reduced charges and better protect your future quality of life by speaking with criminal defense lawyer Jim Sharon Bearden as soon as you are charged with a crime or know you may be under investigation.

He will work diligently to fight for your rights and use every angle possible to secure the best outcome for you. Do not delay. Contact Jim Sharon today to discuss your case.