Being charged with a crime can be a scary experience. Whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, you can potentially face jail time or have to pay hefty fines as a result. If you’re currently in this situation, you need to tread carefully. Here are a few things you must do.
Call a Lawyer
The first and most important thing you must do is call a lawyer as soon as you can. Having someone on your side fighting for you makes it harder for the judge to convict you. Lawyers are trained to be knowledgeable on the law and will know the best possible route for you to go on.
There are a number of factors your lawyer and the prosecutor will consider depending on the crime you are charged with. Be honest when discussing your case with your lawyer so that they can make the best decision for you. Whether they prefer you to do a guilty plea or you fight in court, just know that you’re in good hands.
Go Through the Process
After finding a lawyer, you must go through the court process. The court process consists of several steps:
- Arraignment: This is where you make a plea of either guilty or not guilty.
- Trial: If you plead guilty, you go to trial where evidence is presented to a judge and jury and will determine whether you’re guilty or not guilty.
- Sentencing: If you are found guilty, the court will likely punish you in some way. If you plead guilty in the arraignment stage, there is no trial, and your sentencing will commence immediately afterward.
Make sure to attend all court hearings from the arraignment to the actual trial. Attending these gives you the best chance of beating your case. It’s important to remain patient at this time. The court system in America is known to be a long process. Even civil cases can take over a year to resolve in many cases. Stay strong, and contact your lawyer when necessary.
Remember Your Fifth Amendment Rights
The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent. To avoid incriminating yourself, limit talking about your case. Keep the legal questions for your lawyer, and avoid talking to law enforcement or the press. Don’t even talk to family members about your case. The more you talk to others about your legal troubles, the higher risk you put yourself in.
If you or someone you know is currently charged with a crime, know that there are options to fight back. You have a right to a lawyer, and they have the right to remain silent. Make sure to hire a lawyer to avoid being taken advantage of and so that you can obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
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