It’s frightening to learn that someone filed criminal charges against you. The possibility of spending jail time or having a police record is harrowing thoughts you won’t want to experience in your lifetime.
If you or your loved ones have been notified of criminal charges, there’ll be several questions you might want answers for. Who’s going to represent you? Can criminal charges be sealed? Do you have other recourse other than going to the court? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you deal with this situation better.
What You Should Know When Someone Presses Criminal Charges Against You
If you ever find yourself facing criminal charges, don’t do anything else that might make matters worse. To help you out, here’s some information you might want to know:
- There Are Many Categories Under Criminal Charges
There are three primary categories of criminal offense that you can get charged with–infractions, felonies, and misdemeanors.
Infractions are also called petty crimes and are often punishable through fines. On the other hand, felonies are the most serious of all crimes. Lastly, misdemeanors are crimes lesser than felonies, but heavier than infractions.
Knowing the differences between these three can help you gain a perspective on the penalties that come with them.
- You Might Need To Ask For A Warrant Of Arrest
Not all charges can lead to an arrest. Depending on the severity of the accusations, however, there might be situations that can get you arrested.
Before allowing yourself to be taken in, always ask for the officer to show you an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant is a document issued by the court that authorizes the police to take you under their custody. This should contain information such as the name of the person to be arrested and the nature of the crime committed.
If you’re not an escapee or a person caught in the act of doing a crime, ask for this document first. If they fail to show you this document, you can refuse their invitation. This is your right guaranteed by the constitution.
- It Is Always Best To Remain Silent
Your words can be used as a piece of evidence against you whether you gave them during an interrogation or voluntarily. This is why it’s good to follow this advice when facing criminal charges.
If tempted to make a denial, stop. Always ask for the assistance of your legal counsel. In this way, you can avoid the consequences of giving statements on a case.
- You Need A Legal Representation
As someone who isn’t familiar and equipped to handle criminal charges, it’s best to have a legal representation for your cause. Giving wrong information or following wrong procedures has far-reaching consequences for your case.
Having a legal representation can also help you understand the different criminal categories you can get yourself into. They’ll also explain that laws aren’t similar across states.
- You Need To Cooperate With Everyone Involved
Always aim to cooperate with the necessary authorities even from the beginning of the charges. If you’re the offender, try to settle first. In this way, you can avoid full-blown court proceedings that can turn out to be complicated and time-consuming.
If this doesn’t work, keep yourself updated on all the developments in your case. With the expertise of your legal team and luck combined, you might be surprised to know that your case got dismissed or dropped.
- There Is Life After Conviction
Though it might be easier said than done, know that there’s still life after a conviction. If you’ll be required to spend jail time, some prisons have a system that allows inmates to get educated and reformed while inside. Once your jail time is over, you can always begin a new life outside.
Ready To Deal With Criminal Charges?
Criminal charges are something that you don’t want to encounter in your life. In case you got accused or get yourself into one, remember that you have constitutional rights to protect yourself, including your rights against warrantless arrests and your right to remain silent. You’re also entitled to have legal counsel and attend your legal proceedings. Lastly, give yourself an option to have a happy ending for life still awaits you once you’re free.