If you have been arrested, it’s normal to worry about the possibility of a criminal conviction. But most people don’t worry about their immediate future. Anyone who has been arrested is presumed innocent until he or she has been proven guilty. But if you want to improve your chance of getting a favorable outcome, you need to avoid making certain mistakes.
You may think you know what to do after you have been arrested and that you can continue with your normal activities. You may even have some ideas on how to avoid the legal process, but the consequences of some of these mistakes can make your situation worse.
Here are some mistakes you should avoid once you have been arrested.
#1: Not Keeping Quiet
When the arresting officer tells you that “you have the right to remain silent,” you should take it seriously. You have a legal obligation to answer any questions being asked from police officers about personal details (such as you name), but you don’t have to give them any information about the criminal charges of which you have been suspected. As the Miranda line says, “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” So no matter what the police ask you about the case, exercising your right to remain silent will always be in your best interest.
#2: Not Getting a Lawyer Immediately After Your Arrest
In the 24 hours that the police are legally allowed to keep you in custody without filing criminal charges, you will most likely be questioned because that’s what cops do. Not saying anything at all will be your best strategy, but the police are trained in getting you to say something that they can use against you. That’s why you should never talk to them without having a lawyer present. That way, you’ll have someone to give you advice on the questions you should answer and the ones you should ignore. A lawyer can also question or block any attempt to get you to submit to breath, blood, or DNA tests without a court order. You should never agree to any of these tests unless your lawyer says it’s okay.
#3: Representing Yourself in Court
While everyone has the right to represent themselves in court, most people don’t because their knowledge of the law would be superficial at best. If you want to get the best possible outcome, you will need to hire a criminal defense attorney (preferably someone who has experience in cases similar to yours).
#4: Missing Court Dates
You should never forget or intentionally miss a court date. You may be out on bail, but a judge can make any immediate order for your re-arrest if you don’t show up, which can hurt your case.
#5: Showing Any Kind of Disrespect to the Court
One of the best ways to sabotage your case is to disrespect the court that has been assigned to hear it. There are many forms of disrespect, and being impolite or discourteous to the judge is one of them. Showing up badly groomed and in shabby clothing is another one. If you show any kind of hostility toward the judge, you’ll be charged with contempt of court. You always want to look presentable and be on your best behavior when you’re in front of a judge.
#6: Saying Too Much on Social Media
You can post whatever you want on social media, but anything you post on Facebook and Twitter will be used against you. The judge can order you to show any public posts and private messages that may be relevant to your case. It’s a good idea to stay off of social media until your case has been closed.
#7: Contacting Your Accuser
You should never call or visit your accuser, because it could be seen as an attempt to intimidate the person who is putting the crime on you. And it can be used against you.
#8: Getting Arrested Again
There aren’t too many things that are worse than getting arrested while you’re on trial for another criminal charge. Your most recent arrest may not have anything to do with your current case. But if you’re convicted on the first charge, the judge may consider your second arrest while drawing up your sentence. You may end up missing out on some more lenient penalties (such as diversion programs for first-time DUI offenders), because the judge may not feel compelled to give them to you.
If you have been arrested for an alleged crime and you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi to help you with your case, be sure to get in touch with the Gale Law Group.