When you are charged with a federal criminal offense, you are likely to be very upset and confused. You might not know how you ended up being charged, and you probably have serious concerns about how the case will play out. These are all understandable feelings, but if left unchecked, they can lead to you taking the wrong type of action. You could find yourself doing things that might actually harm your case and make things worse for yourself. If you are facing federal charges, be aware of these common mistakes so that you can avoid them.
1. Careless Posting on Social Media
When a person is arrested on any criminal charges, he or she is given the Miranda warnings. These warnings remind a person of his or her right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. They also remind the suspect that anything he or she says can be used against him or her. It is critical to remember that this does not just apply to conversations or interrogations with the police. Anything you say at any time, including what you post on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform, could be used by prosecutors against you. The best advice is to stay away from social media entirely while your case is ongoing, but you should absolutely avoid posting anything related to the case or the alleged crime.
2. Giving Information to the Police
Many people are not aware that they are not required to talk with the police, especially before they are reminded of their rights. If you are detained or arrested by the police, you do not have to answer any questions about the case, and you certainly should not say anything that might cause you to appear guilty. Invoking your Fifth Amendment right does not make you look guilty. It simply demonstrates that you understand your rights and how they apply.
3. Disrespecting the Court
When you are required to appear for a hearing—including a video hearing—it is important to show the court the respect it deserves. This means that you should be clean, dressed nicely, and looking presentable. You should also conduct yourself with dignity by being polite and courteous. If you show disrespect or apathy to the court, it is not likely to be looked upon favorably by the judge. If you are respectful and appropriate, however, it will be easier for the judge to determine that you are a responsible individual who is likely to tell the truth.
4. Representing Yourself
Depending on the severity of the charges against you, you might be tempted to try to represent yourself without the assistance of a lawyer. This is never a good idea, and it is especially dangerous when federal criminal charges are involved. The federal justice system is extremely complex and decidedly more complicated than the justice system at the state level. No matter how persuasive and likable you might be, you need a lawyer when you are facing federal criminal charges. Your attorney will help you manage countless details that the average person would likely not even know about, let alone know how to address.
Contact a Chicago Federal Criminal Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested and charged with a federal crime, you do not need to face the situation alone. Contact an experienced Illinois federal criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel to get the guidance you need. Mr. Garfinkel knows the law, and he will use his knowledge and resources to help you in any way that he can. Call 312-270-0999 for a free consultation today.
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