What are the FIRST FIVE mistakes criminal defendants make?

What are the FIRST FIVE mistakes criminal defendants make?

1.         The Presumption of Guilt

ArrestedMany accused people think that they have been found guilty before they ever walk in a courtroom.  A criminal conviction can affect your money, your career, your address, your education and your freedom.  However, a criminal charge is NOT a conviction.

Reasonable suspicion, the stop, probable cause, the arrest, the search, the seizure, the evidence, the witnesses and defenses including lack of jurisdiction, mistaken identity, alibi, entrapment, necessity, duress, self-defense, defense of persons or property, voluntary intoxication, involuntary intoxication, diminished capacity, and insanity as well as the dozens of laws and thousands of cases that interpret them combine to give you one chance to protect your future.

2.         Thinking, “All lawyers are created equally.”

Old BridgeNot all bridges are the same.  Similarly, all lawyers are not equally experienced, talented or effective.  We have all been to school and passed a test.  However, it is the experience that comes after the test that can be the difference between winning and losing for you.

At this point in my legal career I have been in a criminal court nearly every workday for almost twenty years.  During that time I have tried cases in big cities and small towns.  I have been in New Bridgecriminal and civil court.  I have practiced in state and federal court on the trial and appellate level including the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.  I have won.  I have lost.

Most importantly, I have learned.  I have learned what to do and what not to do.  I have always been, I think, a good person.  I have always been a dedicated lawyer who was committed to helping my clients.  But, it is the lessons that I have learned in courtrooms all over North Carolina and elsewhere that help me help people today.

3.         Thinking, “If I can just explain my side I can clear this thing up.”

You have the right to remain silent.  Exercise it frequently.  NEVER talk with anyone about your case unless you have discussed it thoroughly with your attorney.  If you think you have the one exception to this rule, you are incorrect.

4.         Being Unprepared.

You must have a good idea of what you are going to do before you ever walk into a courtroom.  You may not know for sure whether you are pleading “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” until you have had final conversations with your lawyer, but you should know the game plan.  Do you need witnesses or documentation?  Do you have any evidence that you need to bring.  Are you prepared to testify or for sentencing?

Also, be on time regardless of traffic.  Be clean and sober.  Get the information from your lawyer that you need in order to make important decisions such as

            How you will plead?

            Will you testify?

            Will you appeal if found guilty?

5.         Getting Frustrated.

If you show up for an important event late, drunk and underdressed it is not going to go well.  Court is and important event.  Treat it as such.

Be on time.  Be clean and sober.  Dress for success. Cover offensive tattoos.  Show respect for the place, the people and the process.  These little things can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.  The outcome of your case can make and enormous difference in your life.

Top lawyers representing people charged with larceny, drug offenses, and DWI.What is the best decision an accused person can make?

It is best to call us. Ask questions?  Listen to the answers.  We can help.  The consultation is FREE.  If you want to use the information that you learn in the consultation and go forward on your own, you can do that.  All I ask is that you get the information first and then decide.  (910) 341-7570 or (877) 593-4233.


R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.