If you are charged with a crime, you could be fined, sent to jail or even spend time in a prison. This is in addition to any damage that it could do to relationships with family members, friends and colleagues. Therefore, it is almost always in your best interest to contact a criminal lawyer to figure out a way to create a legal defense to the charge.
You Don’t Need to Talk to Anyone But Your Lawyer
The police and others may pressure you to say things that may not be accurate or ask you to confess to the charge on the spot. However, you aren’t legally obligated to say anything that may incriminate you or otherwise hamper your ability to defend yourself. The best thing to do is to ask for your lawyer as soon as you get to jail or if an interrogation occurs. Once you ask for your lawyer, the authorities must stop questioning and refer all inquiries to legal counsel.
There Is No Requirement to Take the Stand
You are not required to testify in your case if you don’t want to. However, it is your right to take the stand if you or your attorney feels like it is in your best interest. Furthermore, a spouse is generally not allowed to testify if he or she doesn’t want to. In some cases, testimony may be compelled if there is evidence to show that the marriage is a sham to withhold a key witness from talking.
You Don’t Have to Accept a Plea Deal
A prosecutor may offer you a plea deal to resolve your case quickly. Sometimes, you may be let off with no jail time or probation. However, this is still considered a conviction and will stay on your record. While your lawyer may strongly suggest that you take any deal offered, you are under no obligation to do so.
Get Your Record Expunged
If you are acquitted of a charge, you can have it wiped off of your record. Although not an automatic process, it is generally easy and straightforward for you or your lawyer to ask that the charge be expunged. All you need to do is prove that you were acquitted or otherwise fulfilled terms that would allow your charge to be removed. Once that happens, you don’t have to talk about it with employers or disclose it on a job or educational application.
It is important to understand that you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Therefore, your first step after being charged with a crime is to contact an attorney. He or she may be able to come up with ways to cast doubt upon that charge, which may result in an acquittal or charges being thrown out completely. Please visit the Aswani K. Datt website for more information.