If you have been accused of committing a crime, it's very important that you proceed with caution as you begin to navigate the legal system. Following are three common mistakes made by those who have been formally charged with a crime.
Taking the Legal Advice of Friends and Family
It's important to take legal advice offered by friends and family with a big grain of salt if you have been formally accused of a crime. Even those who have been through the process of hiring a lawyer can really only speak to their own experience, and everyone's case involves unique circumstances. Keep in mind that all the well-meaning advice in the world does not equal the expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
For instance, except in the case of federal crimes, criminal laws are enacted by individual state legislatures, which means they have the potential to change as often as every two years. What was true for a friend or relative living in the same area as you may not be the case several years later. Also, laws can vary wildly by state, so the experience of a friend or family member living in another state may have little bearing on your case.
Waiting for the Court to Appoint an Attorney to Your Case
Court-appointed lawyers are usually recent law school graduates looking to get some experience under their belts -- and this may be at your expense. Although they may mean well, they usually don't have the razor sharp edge you need from your attorney when you've been accused of committing a crime -- in fact, some public defenders may have limited experience dealing with criminal cases. They are also typically overburdened with cases and may not be able to focus as much on your case as you would like.
Not Coming Completely Clean With Your Attorney
It's important to tell your criminal defense lawyer everything about the circumstances surrounded the crime that you have been accused of committing -- even if you think certain details are inconsequential. Successful defenses of criminal cases have been known to hinge on small details, so tell your attorney everything that you possibly remember about the situation.
Even if you are guilty as charged, the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney, such as from Cohen Law Offices LLC, may result in a lesser sentence as well as reduce the overall stress involved of going through the court system.
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