Being arrested can be a stressful and terrifying experience that can turn your life upside down. A criminal conviction can result in harsh consequences and have life-altering consequences on your life. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your legal rights and avoid mistakes that can make it harder for an experienced criminal defense lawyer to mount a strong defense to the charges you face.
How to Protect Your Legal Rights If You Are Arrested in Charlotte
It is important to remember that you may have strong constitutional and other defenses in your criminal case—even if you know that you are guilty of the crime that you are being arrested for committing. Raising your defenses can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. You increase the likelihood of a better outcome in your criminal case if you take these steps to protect your legal rights.
Although you may understandably feel scared and stressed out during your arrest, it is important to take some deep breath and remain calm. This will help you to think clearly, listen to what the officer is telling you, and not overreact.
Request an Attorney Immediately
Once you have been arrested, you have a constitutional right to an attorney. You should immediately tell the police that you want to speak to your lawyer. By asserting your right to representation, you can obtain prompt legal advice and avoid being interrogated without your attorney being present.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
You also have a constitutional right to remain silent. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you by the police and prosecutor. Even if you know that you are innocent, you should not say anything to the police. You also do not want to discuss your criminal charges with cellmates, friends, and family. If your call from the jail is to a friend or family instead of a lawyer, keep in mind that your conversation could be recorded.
Act Politely and Respectfully
Even though you are understandably upset, it is important to be polite and respectful when talking to the officer arresting you and any other law enforcement you interact with while in custody. Being rude or confrontational will not help you reach a favorable outcome in your criminal case and could make your situation worse.
Cooperative When Being Arrested
Do not attempt to flee the scene or resist being arrested. Failing to cooperate can jeopardize your safety and could result in additional charges being brought against you.
Remember the Details of Your Arrest
It is crucial to remember all the details of your arrest from the moment that the police pulled you over or stopped you. Try to remember everything the officer said to you, what you said, and anything else that you believe could be important. As soon as you have the opportunity, write down these facts. This may help your lawyer identify defenses that can help you get the charges dismissed or reduced in a plea bargain.
Know When Your Court Dates and Other Deadlines Are
Within a few days of your arrest, you will attend an arraignment where the charges against you are read, bail may be set, and future court dates will be scheduled. It is important to know when these court dates are so that you attend all required hearings and comply with any other deadlines set by the judge.
Understand the Penalties You Face
It is important to understand the potential punishment you face if convicted of the crime you are charged with committing. North Carolina follows a complicated sentencing system that uses a sentencing range and a person’s past criminal history in determining his punishment. Knowing your potential sentence can help you to be prepared if found guilty and to make important decisions in your case.
Follow Your Attorney’s Advice
One of the most crucial things that you can do is to follow your lawyer’s advice. His job is to protect your legal rights and to mount the strongest defense he can to the charges you face. You help him do this and avoid making mistakes that hurt your defenses by listening to what he tells you and then doing exactly what he tells you to do.
Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charlotte, NC?
If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.