Very few people have ever had any kind of encounter with the police let alone been convicted of a crime. Because of the relative rarity of criminal convictions in normal society, people tend not to know what to do when they do happen. Even innocent people are sometimes charged with crimes so being charged doesn’t mean you are guilty; it just means you are going to have to appear in court and fight for your freedom. This post will tell you how to properly prepare for a court appearance and what you need to know about taking a charge to trial:
Unless you yourself have legal experience it’s unwise to attempt self-representation; rarely do instances of self-representation yield desirable outcomes. According to the experts with Goldman & Associates, the best way to defend yourself and ensure your case’s outcome is in your favor is to hire a qualified and experienced attorney. Finding such attorneys should not be difficult thanks to online reviews. Internet reviews can quickly tell you everything you need to know about how qualified and experienced a legal professional is.
When you are looking for a lawyer to work with and you are reading reviews the best thing you can do is give precedence to the ones that have been posted on Google Review and Trust Pilot. Both of these sites are considered the gold standard and it’s very hard for unscrupulous businesses to get fake reviews through them. If the law firm you plan on working with does not have any reviews then do not immediately discount working with them. Sometimes an absence of reviews can actually be a very good sign and may suggest that past clients have absolutely nothing negative to say about them.
You won’t be able to win your case if you do not provide evidence. The evidence that is needed to prove innocence in a criminal case is usually a lot more than is required for things like personal injury claims. You will need to definitively prove that you were not the person responsible for committing the crime that you have been accused of. Alternatively, you will need to be able to prove that you were elsewhere at the time the crime was committed.
The attorney you hire, depending on how much you are paying them and how serious your case is, will pay a private investigator to research your case’s finer details and try and find conclusive evidence showing you could not have been responsible. When you meet with your attorney it is important that you are honest with them and that you do not incriminate yourself (if you are guilty). While you have attorney-client privilege you need to take great care and make sure that you do everything you can to protect yourself. Never admit guilt even in situations where you are obviously guilty unless you are negotiating a plea deal.
As mentioned in the previous section you need to be honest when you are talking to your lawyer; dishonesty can get you into a lot of trouble. Getting caught lying while giving court testimony can lead to a perjury charge. An arrest for perjury can be very bad for your criminal record and lead to a period of incarceration. It also needs to be noted that if you get caught lying on the stand the chances are that you will be found guilty as no jury is going to find you not guilty after that.
An honest testimony can go a long way. It should be noted though that if honesty is going to incriminate you then you don’t have to say anything at all. You have a legal right not to say anything in court. If you do not say anything then it can incriminate you and make you look guilty. Appearing guilty in the eyes of the jury can be extremely bad for your case. Your lawyer will tell you whether they think it is sensible for you to take the fifth. Always listen to your lawyer’s advice as nobody knows better than them.
One of the best ways to prove your innocence during a criminal trial is to bring witnesses along with you. You won’t be able to just turn up with a witness and get them admitted to the courtroom. Instead, you will have to give their information to your lawyer and they will get in touch with them, interview them and decide whether it’s worth involving them in your case. Before you put anybody forward as a witness you need to make sure that the information they have is actually worthwhile. There is no point in bringing someone or proposing somebody if they cannot be of help to you.
You need to make very sure that the people you are proposing as witnesses are going to tell the truth and that they won’t exaggerate. A lot of people make the mistake of bringing dishonest people to court with them. Such individuals can be very dangerous if a witness defending you is found guilty of perjury then you can end up being found guilty. Make sure that the people you bring are, for this reason, trustworthy and honest. Your lawyer will investigate any potential witnesses and make sure they are truly worth bringing along.
Lastly, make sure that you show up to court. If you miss court then an arrest warrant can be issued. If an arrest warrant is issued then you’ll be taken to the county jail and held there with no bail. Being held without bail means that you won’t be able to stay out in the community and fight your case there. Fighting your case from jail is a lot more difficult because your lawyer will have to come in and visit you in order to hold legal meetings. You won’t be able to meet over the phone although some jails now have video link setups.
Prepare for appearances in court. Individuals that do not prepare often find themselves in a lot of trouble. Proper preparation is easily done. The most important thing that you need to do is find a qualified and experienced lawyer. A lawyer’s help will be invaluable.