What Every Criminal Defendant Should Know

If you are accused of a crime, it’s important to keep several points in mind. The police are not likely to give you any helpful information beyond what they are contractually obligated to tell you; don’t let inexperience work against you. Knowing the best course of action ahead of time could save you a lot of grief.

Remain Silent 
Upon arrest, the police will read you your Miranda rights. The first one they will mention will be your right to remain silent. Not only is this your right, it’s the wisest course of action at this point. The police can use anything you say in the proceedings against you, including anything you say to someone who is not a police officer. Remember that the police hope you will say something during your arrest that will help them convict you of the crime. Instead, tell them politely that you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you won’t answer any more questions without your lawyer present. Do not resist arrest, even if you believe you have done nothing wrong. If you do not cooperate, you could face an additional charge which could stick even if you are found innocent of the crime for which you are accused.
Hire an Attorney
The early times of any criminal proceeding are critical. An experienced criminal law attorney will help prepare your defense and help you avoid mistakes during the investigation portion of your case. You can speak freely to your attorney; anything you tell your lawyer is confidential under the law. Having all the information will help your attorney craft a winning defense case. Hiring an attorney can even save you money on bail.
You Can Be Held Without Charges
If authorities suspect you may have committed a crime but don’t have all the information they need to convict you at the time of your arrest, they can still hold you – just for a limited amount of time. The police have a set period of time during which they need to prove their case to the district attorney or they must release you. Keep in mind that this time frame does not include weekends or days on which the courts are closed.
If the time runs out and you are released, the police can continue their investigation and bring charges against you at a later date. This is another instance in which having a criminal defense attorney on your side can be beneficial; your lawyer may be able to convince the district attorney not to file charges or to file less serious charges.
Your Arraignment 
Your arraignment is the appointment during which you give your answer to the charges against you. At your arraignment, the prosecutor might offer a reduced charge or sentence in exchange for you pleading guilty to the crime. Your criminal law attorney can evaluate the offer and help you come to the best decision.
If you have been accused of a crime, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Carr Saglimben LLP to get started. We proudly represent clients throughout the Olean, NYWellsville, NYBradford, PAWarren, PA; and Chautauqua, NY communities.
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