When charged with a crime there are a few things that you may do to help dismiss your case, or at minimum, reduce your charges and the sentence imposed by the court.
Open And Honest Communication With Your Lawyer
Trust your lawyer. This sounds easier said than done when discussing unflattering details of your case, but your lawyer can help you best when he or she has more details about your case.
Your lawyer is the best person to talk to about your case - not friends, family, or romantic partners. You must be open and honest with your lawyer, no matter how painful it seems. We get it; most people are not overwhelmingly proud to relinquish details about their case, but lawyers are professionals that deal with the world's most sensitive information on a daily basis. Never be embarrassed to tell your lawyer anything.
Always remember the following: "attorney/client confidentiality." The Model Rules of Professional Conduct mandate that the things you discuss with your lawyer cannot be shared with others. The exceptions are (1) the lawyer may discuss details of your case with other attorneys (usually within his or her law firm) to develop a strategy to help you, and (2) lawyers may release the information that you tell them if it prevents further crime or serious injury to others. You cannot ask your lawyer to assist you in furtherance of crimes. For example, you cannot expect your lawyer to conceal your plans to commit an act of terrorism or ask your lawyer the best way to rob a bank. So long as your communication is about your case and not an attempt to extract information to help you harm others, your lawyer will keep all of your information private. Trust your lawyer!
Disclose Potential Witnesses
When charged with a crime, you should immediately tell your lawyer about others involved or who may have information pertaining to the incident. The state or federal government will always do its diligence in searching for others relating to the accusation. Give your lawyer the best chance possible of helping you by letting him or her know other persons that can be called as witnesses in trial. Doing so will give your lawyer the most time to prepare for your case and develop a strategy to use helpful witnesses and expel harmful witnesses.
This is your case! You have to protect yourself. Your friends and family can be called against you in trial as witnesses. Tell your lawyer all persons who may have any information relating to your case; even the smallest details can have a significant impact on your case.
Avoid Run-Ins With The Law While Your Case Is Open
When charged with a crime, one of the worst things that you can do is get charged with another crime. It is imperative that you make the extra effort to avoid run-ins with the law while your case is ongoing. If you are charged with another crime while your case is pending, it will reflect negatively upon you and can have an adverse impact on your case at hand. For example, if charged with possession of drugs, getting charged with harassment shortly after will exacerbate your propensity of guilt for the prior accusation.
Take Classes And Seek Community Service Early
Often times, prosecutors will impose community service and risk reduction classes as part of probation. Talk to your lawyer about completing some of the conditions of probation before your trial or plea date. Doing so will show the court that you have taken seriously the charges against you, and completion of courses and service may reduce your sanctions, and possibly dismiss your case entirely. Just make sure to talk to your lawyer first before acting. Each jurisdiction has specific requirements for what constitutes community service; most commonly, courts require at minimum a certified 501c(3) organization outside of universities and churches. In cases involving drugs and/or alcohol, risk reduction courses can usually be completed prior to the finality of your case. Again, talk to your lawyer about these options. You may be surprised about the positive effects of completing probation requirements before probation is adjudicated!
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