Any good attorney will tell you: it’s often what you say or do after being charged with a traffic offense or crime that can determine the outcome. This field-tested advice applies to speeding tickets, DWIs, DUIs, drug charges, misdemeanors, and, especially, felony charges. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer has probably defended many clients with the very charge you may be facing. So read on to avoid some of the most common, and costly, mistakes to avoid.
- Talking to law enforcement officers without an attorney being present.
If you’re like most people, being charged with anything, much less arrested, is going to cause some anxiety and even panic. These ARE NOT the states of mind you want to be in when you are being questioned. There’s no telling what you’ll say or do under that kind of duress, so let a qualified attorney do the talking for you.
- Thinking that the evidence against you is just too overwhelming.
You scored 85 on the radar. You ran a red light and hit another car. You spilled your bag of pot onto the sidewalk when you got out of the car. Why even call a lawyer, right? Done and done, cut and dried, and all that other stuff, right? Maybe not. Radar guns and the people who use them can be faulty; red lights can malfunction, and, well, perhaps it wasn’t your bag of pot after all. An experienced attorney has just about seen it all and knows all the ifs, ands, or buts you can imagine when it comes to the law. Don’t be so quick to think you’re already convicted before you even get started.
- Thinking you are smart enough to talk your way out of trouble.
You’ve seen every episode of SVU and Criminal Minds at least twice. You know how the police work and how they try to trip you up. You even took two semesters of Criminal Justice classes at the local college. You’re pretty smart and savvy, so you can handle a couple of local cops, can’t you? No, you can’t. Have you lost your mind? Enough with the ego and trying to save a few bucks. Find a good attorney who is too busy successfully defending clients even to know what time Criminal Minds comes on.
- Hiring the wrong attorney.
So we got you past number 3, and you’ve come to your senses. But you may still be thinking you can hire just any attorney and hope for the best. Just like some doctors are better, or more experienced, than others, not all attorneys are the same. The “family” lawyer who drew up your grandmother’s Last Will and Testament probably doesn’t know much about “search and seizure” or probable cause. Get the point? Find a good attorney who has experience with your specific charges and let them go to work. You’ll be glad you did.
- Thinking you can save a few bucks and just hire your attorney right before your court date.
Didn’t you learn anything from the first four warnings above? If you are willing to put your future at risk, possibly lose your license, your job, and who knows what else, then just roll the dice. But if you want to minimize the damage, hire an attorney at the very start. Successful defenses and good plea deals happen when an attorney has time to prepare and plan. So stop cutting corners and cover your a$%.
The Jason Reece Law Firm has cleaned up many messes for clients who made one or more of the mistakes above. Why even let it get that far? The best thing you can do when you are arrested or charged is pick up the phone and give us a call. And we’ve seen Criminal Minds. NOT a good source of legal advice.