Dealing with criminal charges can be terrifying. It’s easy to feel like you’re doomed or like you’re not a person worthy of respect while being questioned about your recent activities or behaviors. Take a deep breath. The following will look at a few ways that lawyers can help you deal with criminal charges. There will also be some bonus tips you can employ immediately to help protect yourself while you wait for a legal consultation.
Explaining The Process
First and foremost, if you’ve never faced criminal charges before, you might be completely at a loss about what you need to be doing. You likely have some ideas about how things go based on movies and television shows you’ve watched, but this is not a good source of accurate or realistic information. Working with an attorney can make things a lot clearer for you. A lawyer can break down exactly what’s going to happen and when and what your responsibilities are throughout.
Understanding Your Rights
Most people don’t fully understand their legal rights. The law is a highly complex web of antiquated Latin-based language entries that would take ages for you to study. If you wanted to read every law regarding taxes, for instance, that’s 70,000 pages—for the average person to read that, it would take 104 days, 14 hours per day. And even then, there’s no guarantee the reader will fully comprehend what they’re reading since legal jargon, and sentence structure can be really hard to understand. That’s insane. No one has that kind of time. And yes, there are people who think the law needs to change if the people who are obeying the law don’t have a chance to read and understand it, but that fight has yet to be properly fought or won.
There’s a good chance you don’t know what you’re entitled to in a legal situation. Even if you’re being charged with something severe, you have rights. Working with a lawyer can help ensure you know what those rights are and you don’t let anyone ignore those rights.
Bonus Tip: Stay Off Social Media
Social media connects us with those we’re interested in and those we care about. It can also be a noose we use to hang ourselves. Law enforcement, judges, insurance companies and lawyers are all social media savvy. Things you post, like, share, comment on or engage with can be used against you in a court of law. Until your charges are completely dealt with, stay off social media. Completely. You don’t want to accidentally give the court the wrong impression.
Presenting Your Options
When you’re facing criminal charges, there are a lot of different options available to you. For instance, defense attorneys working in Pittsburgh for DUI charges point out that there’s actually an entire program (Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program) that is specifically designed to give second chances to people who are dealing with their first driving under the influence charge. This program can help your charges get dismissed in exchange for completing a course and meeting other conditions.
The average person doesn’t know about these kinds of options, but a lawyer does. By meeting with an attorney, you can learn about all the different options available to you so you can make the right choice for you and your life.
Advising You On Likely Outcomes
While no lawyer can guarantee a particular outcome of a given case, many can give you an idea of what outcomes are likely or possible given the similar cases they’ve seen in the past. They can also present you with reasonable estimates for things like the timeline of your case and the total cost you can expect. This advice can be used for everything from how long you hire your babysitter to make plans for your financial future.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Rely On Features And Devices
While things like VPNs and private messaging apps like Signal are good at what they do—namely, keeping your data private—they’re not perfect. These companies exist somewhere, and wherever that is, they have laws they need to follow. Things like subpoenas and warrants can affect them. This means that you shouldn’t ever use a digital platform, device, or application to communicate something that could be incriminating. Basically, if you wouldn’t say it in front of law enforcement, don’t say it on a device.
Advocating For You
Just because you’re being charged doesn’t mean you’re any less valuable as a human. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be defended and given the opportunity to build a fantastic life moving forward. This being said, some types of criminal charges can change how people treat you. All humans are flawed, and everyone is prejudiced whether they realize it or not. Lawyers are people who specialize in trying to rid themselves of their prejudices. It’s their job to advocate for you every step of the way. In the middle of criminal charges, this might be something you need not only on a physical level but on an emotional one too.
Increased Chances Of Positive Outcomes
Finally, working with an experienced lawyer who specializes in the type of criminal charge you’re facing can increase your chances of a desirable outcome. Lawyers know what kind of evidence is needed to convict a person. They know what kind of defenses best protect a person in a given situation. This expertise can often mean the difference between a favorable outcome or a less-than-ideal one.
Bonus Tip: Read Les Miserables
This is a funny tip to throw in here, but there’s a reason so many humans are drawn to art; art is powerful. Les Miserables is a book that was originally written in French about the lives of several people who are struggling in revolutionary-era France. Many of these people have difficult run-ins with the law. The book’s overall message is about the worth of an individual human no matter what they’ve done in their life. If you’re struggling to see your own value at this time, this can serve as an important reminder for you. It’s also beautiful and poetic, and heartwarming.
The above information should have shown you that an attorney is an incredibly valuable asset to have when you’re facing criminal charges. It’s important to take care of your mental health at this time as legal proceedings can be incredibly stressful; even something as simple as following along with a few breathwork exercises on YouTube can help your body process the stress and anxiety you’re feeling.