If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime, it often feels like the whole world is against you. Being a defendant in a criminal case can cause a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety, and feelings of unjust persecution. Under this kind of emotional stress, you’re far more likely to make a mistake that could have severe consequences in your case.
To help you avoid making things worse for yourself, here are the most common mistakes defendants make in criminal cases. Use this knowledge to your advantage to avoid making the same mistakes in your case.
1) Sharing Information On Social Media
Many defendants feel an overwhelming need to proclaim their innocence to anyone who will listen. If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s critical that you do not share any details about your case on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or any other social media platform.
It’s also a bad idea to go online to solicit opinions, advice, or legal counsel. Even if you think the messages you post are private, they’re not. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors can often gain access to any posts, messages, or images you put online.
If you do post on social media, you risk violating court orders (and pissing off the judge). Infamous boogeyman Roger Stone made headlines a few years back for doing this exact thing.
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2) Disclosing Details About Your Case
At no time before or during your case should you share details about your case with anyone other than your lawyer.
The police and prosecutors will almost certainly question your friends and family. No matter how much you trust them, there’s a chance they may divulge information you told them that could be used against you.
The only person you should share information with is your attorney.
3) Not Respecting The Court
The best way to make a bad impression in court is to show up late and/or wearing your regular street clothes. Remember: you are facing criminal prosecution, so take it seriously because everyone else is.
A good lawyer will advise you on how to dress for and behave in court. Listen to your attorney and follow their advice. If you continue to disrespect the decorum of the court, you may be held in contempt of court, which is punishable by fines up to $1,000.
4) Hiring An Inexperienced Attorney
Unlike the movie My Cousin Vinny, hiring an inexperienced lawyer to defend you is a really, really bad idea.
To give yourself the best possible chance of a favorable outcome in your case, you should hire an attorney who has a proven track record of successfully defending clients charged with the type of offense you’ve been accused of.
An inexperienced attorney may not know the right legal strategy to defend you. Even worse, a public defender may not even have enough time to properly review your case before going to court or trial.