What to do if you are charged with a crime.
A brief guide to what you can do when you are charged with a crime.
Talk to a lawyerThe number one thing you can do for yourself if you are charged with a crime is to consult with an attorney. Find an attorney that you are comfortable with and whom you believe can adequately represent you. If you cannot afford a lawyer, apply for a public defender. You will not want to face the charges without a lawyer, no matter how small the crime may seem. Getting convicted often has consequences that you may not be anticipating.
Do not talk to anyone except your lawyer about the chargesYou have the right to remain silent and you should exercise it. It may go against what you want to do, which is to get your side of the story out, but talking to the police usually does more harm than good. Even if you do not understand how your statement can hurt you, you may be admitting to things or filling in gaps in evidence that the government will later use against you. Even your demeanor when talking to the police can be used against you. They will describe you as "nervous" or"dodgy" to make your statement seem like a lie. Beyond the government, statements you make to anyone besides your lawyer can also be used against you, so you should not speak about the case with neighbors, on-line, and you also need to be careful when talking to friends and family.
Save money for bailThe Court could impose a bail. So, you will want to save up for that amount and perhaps talk to a bondsman. Being out of custody has a dramatic impact on your case and your ability to assist in your defensive strategy.