If you are like most people, you do not expect to ever be arrested. The problem is many Americans are arrested every day. Some estimate that as many as 33% of the country has a criminal record. Drug crimes are the reason for a lot of the arrests. Pro-pot legalization experts say that a person is arrested every 60 seconds for an offense involving marijuana. Whether you have been arrested for assault, theft, driving while under the influence (DWI) or another kind of charge, the experience is terrifying. Experts in criminal defense recommend the following steps be taken by anyone who faces charges.
1. Keep your mouth shut. Legal experts credit shows like “Law andamp; Order” for making most Americans aware of their Miranda Rights. We have all heard police on TV say the magic words, “You have the right to remain silent…” The problem is that many people do not need that advice. While you need to be honest, you do not need to incriminate yourself, nor should you volunteer anything. Unless you have a lawyer present, you should abstain from answering questions. Criminal defense experts say that while you are required to be honest but the police and other law enforcement have no such rule for their behavior. It can be hard to stand up for yourself in this situation but you should be able to keep quiet.
2. Get out of jail as soon as you can. After you have been arrested and booked, you will see a judge or magistrate. That person will decide whether or not to set a bond for you. If they set one, you should do whatever you can to get that bond paid so you can start work on your criminal defense. There should be the names of bond agencies on lists next to the phones in both your holding cell and the cell or pod to which you end up being assigned. There are some important reasons to want to pay your bond and get out of jail as soon as you can, some people cannot or will not pay that and decide to wait for their trial date:
- You can be there for a long time. While the United States Constitution does say that you have the right to a speedy trial, the wheels of justice do not move at the fastest rate. What may be speedy for one person may not be for another person. The time of year that you are arrested can make a big difference as well. If you were arrested during the winter holidays, it will take a while for your case goes through the system.
- You cannot mount the same kind of criminal defense in jail as you can when you are free. Some people will tell you differently and those people have no idea what they are talking about. Your access to the phone is limited and your access to research materials and sources, such as the internet, may be non-existent. If there is no other reason than mounting the best criminal defense, your bond is a price you should pay if you can.
- Getting out of jail will help you preserve your sanity. Jail is not supposed to be fun and it is not. For some people, it is not a big deal. For most, it is really painful. If you can pay your bond, your sanity will thank you.
3. Find a lawyer. Once you have gotten yourself out of jail, you need to find the right criminal defense lawyer. If your case is simple, you may want to go with the public defender but you should still take some time to talk to private attorneys. All criminal defense law firms offer free first time consultations with law firms. Take some time to talk to at least three criminal defense law firms. Make sure you talk to lawyers who have experience dealing with your kind of case. If you were arrested for assault, you need a lawyer with experience with that and not with DWI cases and vice versa.
The experience of being arrested is terrifying but you can get through it. Working with the right lawyer for your case can do a lot