Being accused of a crime that you have or haven’t committed can be an overly devastating experience. When this happens, you’re literally looking at what could tarnish your reputation, disrupt your life, and hinder you from enjoying certain freedoms.
There are, however, a few ways to get out of the quagmire unscathed, and this revolves around the very first steps you take.
On this note, here are five crucial steps to take first after being accused of a crime, however minor it may appear.
1. Understand the Nature and Seriousness of Your Accusations
Every criminal accusation brings with it repercussions that can end up sending you to jail, paying hefty fines, or being denied certain liberties. The law is clear on the minimum and maximum punishments for various common criminal charges.
Whether the accusations are serious or minor, you must understand the penalties that you could face afterward.
2. Consult a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney
A qualified criminal attorney will help explain to you what’s at stake and advise you on the best action to take. The criminal defense attorneys at Middlesex County Criminal Law, would advise consulting a law firm with many decades of experience fighting for the rights of defendants facing criminal charges.
You need a team that will work hard to develop a strong defense that will see the charges against you dropped, you are acquitted, or a favorable plea deal is secured. Considering the many intricacies involved in criminal cases, they’ll shield you from the load.
They’ll go a step further to ensure that your rights are protected and that the legal process is under your state laws.
So, what are the qualities to look out for in a qualified attorney? You might ask. They include:
- They should be knowledgeable in criminal law
- They should be passionate and honest
- Honest and reputable
- Consider an attorney with many years of experience in the field
- A good track record in winning defense cases
3. Be Calm
Maintaining your cool at a time like this could greatly help improve your odds. It could be that you were falsely accused of a crime and are disgruntled. Emotional reactions in public, what you post on social media or text messages can negatively impact your case.
The law is clear on this, you are innocent until proven guilty. It’s therefore important that you allow the legal apparatus in place to handle your case without your interruption. Provide information only to the right organs of the law and do not attempt to contact your accuser.
4. Know What to Expect from the Court Proceedings
Knowing what to expect from the legal proceedings can help protect you from an emotional rollercoaster. This is why you need the right legal representation. With the right legal team, you’ll know whether to expect a trial or not, the costs involved, and what to do to build a stronger case.
5. Preserve Important Information
Any physical evidence that could work in your favor in court should be well preserved. This could be tangible effects, photos, emails, letters, or medical documents.
Additionally, witness information is vitally important to help prove your innocence. So be sure to have a contact list of witnesses.
Being entangled in the intricate and complex legal processes involved in criminal law can be challenging, especially if you know it’s a crime you didn’t commit. It can be painful, emotionally, mentally, and financially, and even possibly wreak havoc in your life.
Nonetheless, the steps you take after being arrested or served with the charges can make all the difference and even turn things around.
However minor the charges might be, the above steps will help to put you at ease as you fight for your right to be free.