If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to understand what to expect. The first step in any criminal prosecution is usually an arrest. If you are taken into custody, you have a very simple script.
- “Am I under arrest?”
- If the answer is no: “Then I am leaving”
- If the answer is yes: “I have nothing to say and I want my lawyer”
If you are arrested, do NOT speak with the police or prosecutors – speak ONLY to your attorney. The police may promise you reduced charges – they can’t make good on those promises because the District Attorney, not the police, decide what, if anything, to charge you with. The police may claim to have testimony, video or DNA evidence that they may not actually have – and it is legal for them to lie to you, telling you that your friends have pinned the crime on you or that they have eyewitnesses that don’t actually exist. DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE BUT YOUR LAWYER
Why will the police lie? In a criminal case, the people must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high burden of proof. Criminal cases are often decided by juries, and penalties may include monetary damages or time in jail.
I’ve been arrested, now what?
First, call us! We will then deal with the prosecutor and see if you have a good defense. Common defense strategies include:
- Arguing that the facts presented by the prosecution are untrue or fail to rise to the burden of proof.
- Presenting an alibi which demonstrates that you could not have committed the crime because of where you were or what you were doing at the time the crime was committed.
- Arguing that police coerced you into committing or confessing to the criminal act.
- Arguing that the prosecution did not bring charges within the statute of limitations, or amount of time allowed by law, so the charges must be dropped.
If you’re facing criminal charges, hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney like the team at Gelbman Legal Group is the best way to ensure you’ll be well represented in court. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure you understand your rights.
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