Important Things to do if you’re Facing Felony Charges
No matter what crime you’re charged with, a felony is always a serious matter. Some of the charges considered a felony crime includes homicide, attempted murder, rape, arson, human trafficking, burglary, robbery, and knowingly transmitting HIV. Also, escaping from prison, child pornography, child abuse, money laundering, stalking, and interrupting guardianship to minors are considered felony charges.
Each state has laws and different punishments for felony crimes. To avoid the severe consequences associated with these crimes, you must take the right steps. Here are the most critical steps you should take.
1. Exercise your right to remain silent, and don’t resist arrest
You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘you have the right to remain silent…’ in hundreds of TV shows and movies about law enforcement and the justice system. Your right to remain silent isn’t something just made up to make movies more interesting.
The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to avoid incriminating yourself, particularly if you are facing criminal charges. The easiest way to do this is by exercising your right to remain silent. But this doesn’t mean you should resist arrest. No matter how innocent you think you are, do not resist arrest to avoid weakening your defense.
Don’t act hostile toward the law enforcement officer. Tell the police politely that you choose to exercise your Fifth Amendment rights.
2. Contact your attorney
The most critical step in defending yourself against criminal charges is to consult with a lawyer. Every minute you spend in police custody with no lawyer helping you hurts your case. Therefore, it’s best to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you realize you’re accused of a felony.
Prosecutors know all aspects of criminal law and can easily sell you on agreeing to a plea bargain that appears to be your best option. Hiring a lawyer will even the playing field. Your attorney will help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your case.
Also, your lawyer will help you exercise your rights to avoid setting yourself up for conviction. Keep in mind that the law enforcement officers and prosecutors will work against you. So, you need an expert on your side to fight for your best interests.
3. Don’t post bail immediately
One of the serious mistakes many people facing felony charges do is to post bail using a bail bond agent who charges a 10% fee. Having a lawyer process the bail means the bond or bail terms can be negotiated, which is good news for you. A bail bond agent can’t do that; it’s all about the percentage; the more significant the bond, the bigger their cut.
4. Avoid talking to your friends and family about the alleged crime
Attorney-client privilege is protected by the law. That means everything you tell your lawyer is confidential. However, if you talk to your family and friend and they come to the knowledge of the case, a subpoena could be issued to any of them to give a witness testimony, which could incriminate you. This could potentially hurt your case.
5. Write it down
Maintaining a high level of accuracy in your testimony is key. Write down what you remember so that the prosecution can’t poke holes in your evidence. Write down a list of all persons you know witnessed the alleged crime. This is very crucial as it will help your attorney in defending you during the trial.
6. Always Attend All Court Proceedings
If you are out on bail or bond, always attend all court proceedings or risk losing your freedom. Work with your attorney to create a calendar of hearings associated with your case. Failure to attend these hearings could result in an arrest.