10 Mistakes to Avoid at the Start of Your Criminal Case
Criminal Defense Lawyers Helping You Avoid Costly Mistakes
The decisions you make at the start of your criminal case could determine the outcome. Even something that seems like an innocent mistake could result in serious consequences. Therefore, you should never underestimate the charges you are facing or the impact your actions may have at every step in the process.
It is helpful to be aware of common mistakes people make during a criminal case. No matter how great your defense lawyer is – by making certain mistakes you can really back them into a corner – and negatively affect the outcome of your case.
What 10 Mistakes Must You Avoid During the Early Stages of a Case?
- Allowing police to search without a warrant. This is by far the most common and earliest mistake you can make. You allow law enforcement to search and seize property voluntarily, which means they do not have a search warrant. Police will casually ask if you will consent to a search of your home or automobile. They may make it sound like this is in your best interest, and if you have nothing to hide, of course – you will let them search. It is very easy to assume that they are right. You may believe that because you are innocent and have nothing to hide, why not allow a search? You might think that saying “No” will make you look bad. However, it is strongly advised that you only allow a search after the police have obtained a warrant, and after consulting with an attorney.
- Offering a statement voluntarily. Police might ask if you will volunteer for a statement. Again, the police will do their best to make it all sound very informal and innocent. But bear in mind that they can turn anything you say against you, and you have the right to consult with a New Mexico defense attorney. You would be wise to exercise that right. It is simply a bad idea to ever openly talk to law enforcement without an attorney present.
- Ignoring pre-trail release requirements.After your arraignment and bail hearing, you might be released until your trial date. You will have a set of requirements for your pre-trial release, and ignoring those requirements not only results in going back to jail, but could be used to show your poor judgment and character.
- Consulting to tests. You do not have to consult to DNA testing. Instead, request that the officer have a warrant signed by a judge. While you are required to take a breathalyzer test if you are suspected of a DUI, DNA tests and other non-DUI related tests are not required.
- Resisting an arrest. You might be innocent, and you could be caught off-guard when officers show up to arrest you. Regardless of how you feel in the moment – do not resist arrest. They will arrest you regardless, and resisting only makes matters worse and adds charges to your record.
- Hiding information from your criminal defense attorney. The worst thing you can do to is to hide information from your attorney. Your attorney is representing you – not the state. Therefore, you should give them the truth and never hide information. The more you hide, the more off-guard your attorney will be if the prosecution uncovers what you were hiding – and the harder it will be for your attorney to protect you.
- Waiting to hire an attorney. The earlier you bring in a lawyer, the earlier your case might resolve. In fact, bringing in an attorney during the investigation phase could result in you never being arrested or charged in the first place. Do not wait to hire an attorney. If you are a suspect, contact an attorney immediately.
- Taking advice from people who are not lawyers. Everyone has an opinion. You might know someone that has been charged with a similar crime or many people who think that they know what’s best for you – even if they have no formal training in the law. Here’s an important tip. Even if they were charged with the exact same offense – if they are not an attorney, do not take their advice. Every situation is as unique as a fingerprint and only a criminal defense attorney with experience handling your type of case can properly advise you.
- Giving the officers a reason to escalate. You might be annoyed that law enforcement is questioning you, but giving officers any reason to escalate an interaction with you is simply a BAD idea. Always be polite, remain calm, and avoid being combative.
- Failing to appear in court. If you are released on your own recognizance or with a bond, you must attend all of your court hearings. If you fail to appear, a warrant will be issued, your bond forfeited, and your fleeing from the court could be used as a sign of guilt.
Speak with a Defense Attorney in New Mexico Today
Criminal charges have a serious impact on your life. Not only could you lose your job, but you could also lose your family, your home, your reputation, your civil rights, and even your driver’s license – depending on the crime.
If you hire a criminal defense lawyer, it could have a tremendously positive impact on your case’s outcome. Get started by contacting New Mexico Criminal Law Offices at 505-375-4767 for a free case evaluation.