Criminal Defense and Your Rights

If you are stopped by the police, the less you have to say, the better. This is especially important if the police officer takes you into custody. In that case pleading the Fifth Amendment is important, especially if you believe that your response would be self incriminatory. Once you plead the fifth, you will begin a criminal defense process that you hope will lead to your acquittal. Here is what to do when arrested.

Consider legal representation. You have the right to an attorney as outlined by the sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. And if you cannot afford an attorney, you are still entitled to that representation. That right extends to you choosing your own counsel, accepting an appointed counsel and the right to represent yourself advises The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran .

Choose an attorney. You may be qualified to handle your case, pro se, but you may find that legal representation will help your case. If your case is a routine matter, then handling it yourself is a reasonable response. If your case is more complex and involves criminal activity, then working with an attorney is a must. Lose your case and your life can be effectively wrecked even after you get out of prison. It can be hard to find a place to live, secure employment, get credit or simply function if you have a criminal record. Your attorney will do everything within his or her power to to have your case thrown out or your sentence reduced.

Assemble your witnesses. Whether a person is a willing witness or not, you can compel them to appear in court. Don’t go by their personal assurance that they will show up. Instead, have a subpoena issued to compel them to do so. Your attorney will handle this matter and will work with witnesses that are favorable to you. This witness does not have to be your friend. They can even be someone you despise provided that their account supports your contention.

Know the law. Simply because a police officer said that you broke the law does not mean that you did. For example, he may pull you over for making a right turn on red where he alleges no such turn is allowed. A little work on your part may reveal that the officer is right, but the signage is missing. You cannot be expected to obey a traffic directive if the guidance is not in place. If you are representing yourself, you can request an arraignment in a bid to get the case dismissed. Provide evidence that the violation has no merit.

Dress for success. If you must appear in court, you should dress the part to ensure your success. Men should comb their hair, trim their faces and wear a conservative suit. Women should dress likewise and look their professional best. Yes, people do judge you by the way that you look. It may not seem fair, but you want to do your part to ensure success.

Present your evidence. While in court, you or your attorney will present evidence on your behalf. In the example of the traffic violation, that may include a photo of the stop light and attendant signage. A photo should be presented separately and not on your smart phone.

Doubt is important. If you are being tried by a jury, your attorney will seek to cast doubt on the contention of the prosecutor. This is important because if “reasonable doubt” is present, then the jury must acquit you. The burden for convicting you rests with the jury, therefore your attorney will work diligently to present your case, refute arguments and defend your honor. Even if you did something wrong, the jury must be convinced of the same, otherwise they will rule for you and you will walk.

Legal Considerations

The U.S. Constitution protects your rights. Legally, you cannot be compelled to testify against yourself. If you cannot afford an attorney, legal assistance is often available at no cost to you. Ask for an attorney and do not divulge any other information about your case to anyone except to your attorney.