If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to know that there are a number of things that you can and should do to protect your interests. In order to build a strong defense, you’ll need to secure good legal representation and that should never be discounted. Even with legal representation you may feel like you need to do something rather than just wait. Together, there are many things that you and your lawyer can accomplish.
Examine the Collection of Evidence
There are strict protocols concerning the way in which evidence can be collected against a defendant. Learning more about how evidence has been collected against you and determining whether or not this evidence is actually admissible in court is essential. If law enforcement agencies have not used the required procedures for collecting, reporting and labeling evidence, your case could be thrown out.
Collect Evidence of Your Own
When you have been falsely accused of a crime, it is important to collect evidence that will support your claims of innocence in court. When crimes are financial in nature, gather all legal documents and records that are relevant to your case. Photos, videos and all other evidence from or pertaining to the crime scene should be collected as well. You should share the evidence that you’ve gathered with your attorney as soon as you can.
In some instances, it may be best to have a few, reliable character witnesses by your side in court. These individuals are people of character that have had dealing with you in the past and can talk about their relationships with you as well as the positive attributes that you have displayed throughout the years. Having them on hand can help shape the jury’s opinion in your favor. Your defense attorney can contact and meet with prospective character witnesses in order to determine the impact that these individuals might have on your case.
Actions to Avoid
Avoid destroying or hiding any evidence that you think might incriminate you. Instead, discuss these things with your attorney at your earliest convenience. It is important to note, however, that although you shouldn’t hide or destroy potentially incriminating evidence, you don’t want to voluntarily share evidence with law enforcement agencies or investigators even if you think this evidence will exonerate you. Never voluntarily submit to DNA testing without first speaking with your attorney or talk with investigators without your lawyer present.
Assess Opportunities to Strike Deals
Defendants who want to avoid serious penalties often have the ability to strike deals with prosecutors. In most cases, this means pleading guilty to lesser charges and facing punishment for these, rather than pleading innocent to the original charges and hoping for a positive outcome. Deals like these are best negotiated and implemented under the guidance of an attorney. Your lawyer can make sure that the terms and conditions of a deal are feasible, fair and in line with your best interests. This professional can also make sure that all agreed upon terms are put in writing so that they can be duly honored by the courts.