In criminal cases, sometimes the biggest danger to defendants and their chances at a good plea or prevailing in a bench or jury trial are themselves. The reasoning is that many defendants may not have a full grasp or understanding of the legal system. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, or have been charged, you should be aware of some of the common mistakes made by criminal defendants that may significantly jeopardize their case. In this blog, we cover four common mistakes made by criminal defendants so that you can avoid the same.
Sharing Information on Social Media. One of the bigger, if not the biggest, mistakes made by criminal defendants is sharing information on social media. Whether it be out of frustration, or an attempt to prove one’s innocence, many criminal defendants post about criminal behavior. Some actually show the crimes they committed. This is a mistake. Online posts last effectively forever on some server, and prosecutors routinely check social media websites for evidence. As such, defendants who share information on social media may cause serious damage to their cases. Remember, you have the right to remain silent, so take advantage of that right because anything you say or post on social media can and will be used against you. If you are a suspect in a criminal case or have been charged, you should not be posting to social media.
Disclosing Information While in Custody. If police officers bring you into custody for questions or detain you during the pendency of the case, its important to remember not to discuss your case. Again, you have the right to remain silent, so take advantage of that right. Police officers may question you in a way to try to make you give conflicting statements or get you to confess to a crime. Furthermore, if you disclose information to another inmate while in custody during the pendency of the case, that inmate could testify against you. So remember, remaining silent is extremely important to the outcome of your case.
Failure to Listen to Your Attorney. Many criminal defendants want to take an active role in their case. This is understandable and there are appropriate ways to do this that can be beneficial. However, at times, criminal defendants may refuse to listen to the advice of their attorney regarding the strategy of the case. Often times this is because of “advice” they obtained at the jailhouse from other defendants. This can be a big mistake. Your attorney is on your side. It is important to remember to take the advice of your attorney and listen to recommendations because that is what we are here for and trained for. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to trust and communicate openly with your attorney for the best results. Find an attorney competent to handle your case and one you will trust.
Not Caring How You Look in Court. While it may seem superficial, it is important to put yourself together and focus on your appearance. At the end of the day, we are all human and prejudices can unfortunately seep in. Much scientific data backs this up. There is an old adage, it only takes a second to make a bad impression. Showing up to court in a disheveled appearance is not going to do you any favors. Taking time to put on a clean and neat appearance will go a long way in helping your case. Equally, be humble in court and not argumentative with the judge.
Being under investigation and/or being criminally charged is a significant event, with the risk of losing your freedom to incarceration. Moreover, individuals often times feel alone or trapped when they find themselves in such situations. However, remember that you aren’t alone or trapped. You have rights and you have options. If you find yourself in trouble, skilled defense counsel is crucial to protect your rights. This blog is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle the full spectrum of criminal cases throughout Indiana. This blog is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.