Being accused of a crime is a serious matter because a criminal record will follow you around for the rest of your life unless you can have it sealed or erased at some point. It may affect your ability to get a job, you might lose your driver's license, and a criminal record could affect child custody and visitation. Also, if you have a criminal record, you may get harsher punishments for future crimes you commit. If you're accused of a crime, you need a good defense attorney to handle your case so you have the best outcome. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Ask for Your Lawyer Right Away
Be careful about talking to the police, so you don't say something that could hurt you later. When you're stressed about the event, you might say things you don't mean or get facts confused. Wait to speak until your attorney is present and can guide you through the process. Depending on the nature of the crime, you might be released from jail right away with a court date to make a plea at a later date. Be sure to hire a defense attorney before your first court date.
Cooperate with Your Attorney
A defense attorney has the goal of getting the best outcome, which could be having the charges dropped, getting an innocent verdict, reducing the punishment, or working out a plea deal. The more you cooperate and listen to your attorney's advice, the easier it will be for him or her to do the best job. If your attorney advises you not to take the stand or to accept a plea deal, give the advice careful thought. The decisions you make are up to you, but your attorney has enough experience with the law and courts to offer advice you can trust.
Provide As Much Information As You Can
The more information your attorney has, the easier it is to build a case. If you were arrested for a DUI, provide details of the arrest and information about witnesses so the attorney can look into procedural errors and other technicalities that might get your case dismissed. No matter what crime you are charged with, there may be details that can help your attorney come up with a good defense.
It's upsetting and frightening when you're arrested for the first time, even if it's just a minor charge. For that reason alone, hiring an attorney right away gives you peace of mind. An attorney tells you what to expect and what your possible punishment could be, so you aren't left to imagine the worst and not know what to do.