Common Mistakes in Prince William County Criminal Cases
The biggest mistake that individuals charged with criminal offenses make is talking to the police or to anyone apart from their Prince William defense attorney about the criminal offense. It is often true that individuals make incriminating statements to police over the course of an investigation which is then going to be used against them at their trial. Police are skilled in eliciting these kinds of statements and will often say almost anything to get a confession or incriminating statement from the accused. It’s their job! Most people are not aware that police can even lie to and mislead defendants in order to trick them into incriminating themselves. Even the savviest person is no match for a skilled police officer or investigator, especially under the pressure of having been arrested and sitting in a police car or at the police station. This is why the Fifth Amendment guarantees us all the right not to incriminate ourselves, a big part of that being the right to remain silent. There is almost never a reason to talk to police, and that should only be done on the advice of an attorney.
Another common mistake is making statements about the case to friends or family members. While communications to attorneys are covered by “attorney-client privilege,” meaning the attorney can never be compelled to share what is said (except in rare circumstances where, for example, the loss of life is imminent), this is not true of statements made to ANYONE ELSE. So confiding details of your case to family and friends may result in them being called as witnesses against you at trial where they must either testify or face being put in jail.
Avoiding These Mistakes
The main thing individuals can do to avoid making mistakes is to involve a lawyer in the process as soon as possible. At the first opportunity either after a person becomes aware that they might be charged or after they have been charged, they should get in contact with counsel right away. There are always steps that they can be taking and that their attorney can be taking to maximize the chances of the best judicial outcome possible.
First Three Things to do After Being Charged
The three most important things that an individual can do after being charged with a crime are number one, do your homework and find a good attorney who is well-regarded by their peers and who has plenty of experience in Prince William County over a large number of years.
The second thing that they should do is then contact that lawyer at their very first opportunity, share all the important information that they have, ask all the questions that they have until they have reached a level of comfort in terms of what is going to happen in their case.
Finally, they should follow the advice of their lawyer, whatever they are advised to do, whatever they are advised not to do; these things are critically important and even small things can affect the outcome of the case. They should go into the process with the attorney with their ears open and with the willingness to listen and to follow advice.