Being arrested and charged for a felony is terrifying. In these initial moments of terror, regardless of innocence or guilt, it is important to remain calm even in the face of the unknown.
Exercise the right to remain silent
The Fifth Amendment provides all citizens charged with a criminal crime the right to refuse self-incrimination. Remaining silent is the easiest and best way to avoid self-incrimination. If arrested and detained by the police, inform the police that you would like to exercise the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions without a lawyer present.
While this is obviously much easier said than done, is very important. Attempting to resist arrest, argue with the police or acting violently will only impact the situation in a negative way. Though the police may be trying to provoke you into incriminating yourself without a lawyer present, any negative reactions make the situation much worse.
Contact an attorney immediately
After remaining silent and calm, contact an attorney. Each moment spent in police custody without an attorney negatively impacts the case. Hiring a criminal defense attorney after being accused of a crime is essential. The prosecutor not only understands the legal technicalities involved but also is experienced in convincing accused persons into signing unappealing plea bargains.
Hiring a defense attorney ensures receipt of accurate and fair legal advice. For example, many people post bail immediately after someone they care about has been arrested. Sometimes, quickly posting bail is important, and other times – especially for a felony charge – it is not. A criminal defense attorney can quickly review the facts and determine whether bail could be lowered.
Sometimes, a person can be released from jail without offering any bail money because the charges might be dropped at the arraignment stage. Because so many different scenarios exist, an experienced defense attorney understands the complicated issues involved, possibly saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Understand the felony offense
Most people do not understand the differences between misdemeanor and felony charges, which means most people do not understand the severity of the crime that they are being accused of and the potential consequences they might face if convicted of either.
Generally, a misdemeanor is punishable by the time spent in county jail, a monetary fine, or both. In contrast, a felony has much more severe penalties. If convicted for a felony certain rights, like the right to vote, might be lost after time spent in prison. As a result, it is important to understand the specific charges faced, and the severity of each charge.
Be honest with the attorney
A criminal defense attorney must understand all the relevant and accurate information to prepare the best defense. Therefore, 100 percent honesty with the defense attorney lawyer is essential for the felony criminal process. The more accurate information the attorney has, the more prepared the attorney will be to provide the best defense.
Overall, reacting appropriately during the entire procedure of the prosecution of the case is important to ensure an effective legal strategy and defense. By reminding yourself of these important ideas, a felony charge might not be so scary after all.
Call us at (417) 865-2181 for more information from Dean Price Law or to schedule a consultation in our office in Springfield.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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