Having a felony conviction on your record is a very serious thing. This could affect your whole life and restrict your rights in a wide number of ways. You might not be able to vote, may have difficulty getting a job, and it will make being a productive and honest member of society that much more difficult.
What many people don’t understand is that there are ways that you can avoid being convicted for a felony, and it often has to do with how you handle yourself before and during the trial. Here are a few of them.
Whatever you do, you have to make sure that you exercise your right to maintain silence. This isn’t just some movie line, this is a real right that you have. You should only agree to speak about anything about the case if you have an attorney present. This alone could save you from hurting your case or admitting to crimes you haven’t committed.
You need to interview and hire a competent criminal defense attorney the minute you get arrested and are facing a felony conviction. The longer you stay in jail without counsel, the more it’ll hurt your case. Law enforcement officers know much more about the justice system than you, and they can use that against you. What might look like them trying to help you might be a trap. Only a good attorney will be able to protect you against their tactics and know what you should and shouldn’t agree to.
Don’t Speak About Your Case
Do not talk about the specifics of your case to anyone besides your lawyer, even if you think you’re innocent. When they say that anything can and will be used against you, this isn’t a movie line either. That goes for phone conversations over jail phones. These calls are recorded in most jails and can be used to provide or construe evidence against you.
Understand Charges Against You
A lot of people don’t understand what makes the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. Some things that might seem benign to you might actually be a felony in the state where you committed the crime. For instance, something might be a petty theft in one state, but a felony in the next.
This is why you can’t work on assumptions and think that you don’t need representation because you think what you did was minor. Speak with someone who understands the laws in your jurisdiction first.
Be Truthful with Attorneys
Your attorney is here to defend you and they can’t do that to their full capacity if you’re hiding things from them. You have to be 100% truthful with them from the get-go.
They are obligated to keep everything you tell them a secret under threat of disciplinary action, even if it incriminates you. So, tell them the whole facts of the case so they can come with a proper plan to either lower your charges to a misdemeanor, lower your sentence, or have your case dismissed.
If you have been arrested for a crime and think you might be facing felony charges, make sure that you follow our advice. You should speak with an attorney the minute you’re charged, no matter how light you believe the crime is.