You’ve been picked up on a felony offense. Instantly, the worst-case scenario starts playing in your brain. You’re just sure you’ll be in jail for years to come.
Not so fast! According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, plea bargains reduce the charges in as many as 95 percent of state and federal cases. And that’s if you admit guilt.
With the right attorney and circumstances, you might be able to beat the charges altogether. But only if you take the following steps after your arrest.
We’re talking about felony offenses here, which are very serious charges. At this point, law enforcement is looking to hang as many charges on you as they think will stick.
Therefore, you’ll want to maintain a courteous and polite demeanor. This might require responding to basic niceties. But as far as the case itself goes, don’t say anything until you’ve had a chance to speak to your attorney. And it’s not a bad idea to request one as soon as possible.
Understand Your Charges
Felony offenses can vary in severity, so it’s important to understand the classification with which you’re being charged. Law enforcement has a duty to tell you the charges they will be attempting to place on you.
If you don’t fully understand the charges when they tell you, that’s okay. Save the further conversation for a criminal defense attorney.
Contact an Attorney
Do this before speaking about the case and before posting bail. Your attorney will understand things about the charges that you don’t. This often can result in a reduction of the bail amount or elimination of the bail amount altogether.
Those efforts can be especially effective if it is your first felony offense. They can also answer many of your questions, like “is a DUI a felony offense?” But you won’t be able to take advantage if you haven’t spoken to your attorney first.
Stay Silent Outside
Don’t restrict your silence about the case to law enforcement. Once you’re out of jail and awaiting your court date, take special care not to discuss your arrest or the case in general with anyone.
Doing so could give less scrupulous people in your life a chance to take advantage. It could also get back to law enforcement and be used against you.
Get Your Story Straight
Take your time on the outside to sit down and hash out the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Get the report and any body cameras if possible.
Make a list of the witnesses that were involved. Share all of this information with your criminal defense lawyer.
Legal services provider www.tprentisslaw.com emphasizes the importance of showing up for your court dates. Failure to do so can result in additional charges, such as “failure to appear,” which can make it difficult to escape or mitigate original charges as well.
Many felony offenses can be reduced in severity if you play by the court’s rules. You’re showing good faith, and you’re giving your attorney room to work on the case.
Felony Offense Charges Are Serious But Your Attorney Can Help
You should take a felony offense very seriously, whether it’s your first one or you’ve had others in your past. A reputable and aggressive criminal defense attorney can help you through the waters, but only if you make the right initial decisions in the aftermath of your arrest.
Follow the tips we’ve just covered, and you’ll be well on your way to a better outcome. For more legal articles and information, check out some of our additional posts!