Facing criminal charges can be a stressful and frightening experience. A criminal offense is defined as a crime against the state. Seeking legal advice as soon as you’re charged is vital because you could face time in prison, large fines, or both if you fail to present a compelling defense. Having an experienced criminal lawyer can help mitigate any charges held against you. Here are five things to know when facing criminal charges in Louisiana.
Who to Talk to When Facing Criminal Charges
Upon arrest, you will be read your Miranda Rights by the police, as required by law. The first thing you will hear is your constitutional right to remain silent—which is what you should do.
You should never answer any questions asked by a police officer, court official, or anyone else. What you say can be used against you in court. Instead, politely inform officers you will not be answering any questions until your attorney arrives. You should tell your attorney as much as you can about your case. You can speak freely with them because what you say to a lawyer is confidential.
You Can Be Held Without Charges or Charged Later
In some cases, the police may suspect you have committed a crime but don’t have enough evidence to charge you at the time of the arrest. Police officers have a limited time frame to charge you once you’re in custody.
If the police cannot produce proper evidence within that time frame, you will be released from custody; however, this does not mean that you’re off the hook. Law enforcement can continue their investigation and recommend charges to be filed at a later date. Having an attorney during this time is critical to protect yourself. They may be able to convince the district attorney to drop the charges or file less serious charges.
Meet With Your Attorney
Bring any relevant documents and items to your meeting for the attorney to review. You should also prepare a timeline of events, compile appropriate witness names and contact information, and inform the attorney about any potential evidence that may affect your case. Once you provide the attorney with detailed information, you should then receive an analysis of potential legal issues and a case overview. At the end of the meeting, ask any questions the attorney has not already answered. You need to be as informed as possible.
Evaluate Plea Offers Carefully
You are not legally entitled to plea bargains, although most cases are resolved by one. Accepting or rejecting an offer is a crucial step in the process. It’s vital to have a thorough and comprehensive discussion with your attorney before proceeding. Your attorney will evaluate the offer and help you decide if you should accept it.
Things may not be as bad as you initially perceive. Prosecutors often overcharge cases because many get pled down to less severe offenses. It’s easy to become stressed and overwhelmed, but it’s essential to make clear decisions during this process. When in doubt, consult your attorney.
Get Representation for Criminal Charges in Louisiana
If you face criminal charges in Louisiana, it’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be on your side and advocate on your behalf. With more than 25 years of experience, attorney Eric Johnson of The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm knows how to create a winning defense strategy.
Eric Johnson takes the time to get to know each of his clients individually and commits himself to investigate each aspect of your case. Call our office at (318) 377-1555 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.