9 Common Mistakes People Make When They Are Charged With A Crime And How To Avoid Them
1. Allowing a search or seizure when the police come to your home or work - Both the Louisiana and United States Constitutions prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures. The police are prohibited from searching your home without a warrant. Do not give the police permission to do this unless they present proper credentials and a search warrant. Read the complete search warrant to determine the scope and ask to watch the search proceedings. You are also entitled to a copy of the search warrant.
2. Giving a voluntary statement - Both the Louisiana and United States Constitutions give you the right to remain silent and not speak to police without a lawyer being present. You are not required to talk to police when they come to talk to you about a crime. You have the right to remain silent - which is what you should do until you speak to an attorney.
3. Not being polite and courteous with police - Don't give them a reason to escalate the situation and use violence and force on you.
4. Resisting arrest - Being uncooperative during an arrest will only hurt your case and can lead to injury.
5. Voluntarily giving samples of body fluids, fingerprints, handwriting, clothing - You don't have to give officers these items without a court order or your attorney's permission.
6. Taking a polygraph or lie-detector test - Polygraphs are inadmissible in court because they are unreliable. I only allow a client to take a polygraph test only after they have been tested by a polygrapher retained by the defense.
7. Not telling your lawyer all the facts - Your lawyer can't give you the best representation if he doesn't know all the facts about the case. It's not good for your attorney to be surprised by information he learns at a hearing or trial. When you're honest with you lawyer he can do a better job at protecting your interests.
8. Waiting until the last minute to hire a lawyer - Some people have a hard time coming to the realization that they are going to be formally charged with a crime. They think if they will just stick their head in the sand everything is going to go away. There not. People charged with crimes need to be proactive by hiring a lawyer immediately. One of the most critical stages to defending a criminal case is the beginning. Witnesses need to be interviewed while their recollection is fresh and important constitutional rights attach and need to be protected from the moment a person is arrested. It is never too early to hire a criminal defense lawyer.
9. Choosing a lawyer who is not experienced in criminal law or with handling criminal trials - Criminal charges can have a serious impact on your life. Choosing an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer can have a tremendous affect on the outcome of your case.