3 Things That Could End Up Ruining Your Criminal Defense
Seeking legal counsel is the first step in building a good criminal defense. However, it isn’t the only thing you need to do. In fact, there are mistakes clients can make that will undermine their case and their defense attorney’s strategy. Here are three things that could end up ruining your criminal defense.
Lying to Your Defense Attorney
A criminal defense lawyer is not necessarily trying to prove a client’s innocence. They certainly will do so where they can. They will also try to raise a reasonable doubt of guilt even for someone who committed the act. Clients should not lie to a defense attorney to try to continue the story they tell others. They need to tell the defense attorney the truth, so that the lawyer can build a defense for every potential aspect and angle of the case. Lie about any detail, and the state could offer proof contrary to the attorney’s case and blow it apart.
Withholding Information from Your Defense Attorney
If you withhold information from a defense attorney, you undermine your case. You don’t know what details may bolster your case or could exonerate you. Don’t assume that discovery will give your defense attorney what they need. The lawyer wasn’t there. The defendant was.
Share everything with your defense attorney, whether it is embarrassing or potentially incriminating. Whatever you say will be protected by client-attorney privilege. Background information about witnesses, events surrounding the crime and locations could raise doubts about the prosecution’s case. In a worst-case scenario, holding back information results in an attorney creating a defense theory or strategy that won’t work because key details that undermine it weren’t shared.
Talking About Your Case with Others
Your attorney is the only person you should be discussing the case with. Anything the accused says to someone other than the attorney, with few exceptions, is not privileged information. Anyone you talk to can become a witness against you. Prison phone calls are recorded. This means that even discussing the case with someone who could not legally be forced to testify against you could result in prosecutors gaining the information.
Don’t try to plead your innocence with detectives or police officers. It won’t help your case and what you say could be used against you. You have the right to remain silent after asking for legal counsel. Use it.
Posting comments about your case on social media makes it public and potentially accessible to the prosecution. There’s another danger to trying to announce your innocence on social media. Others may ask questions or challenge the assertion, and information you share on social media to try to prove your innocence could be used against you or undermine client-attorney privilege. This includes text messages, emails and any digital communications with anyone. Don’t try to tell your side of the story; it can only hurt you. Don’t talk to co-defendants or exchange digital communications with them, either. It may not be private and could be used against you.
Make any of these mistakes, and the odds you’ll be found guilty will skyrocket. Avoid these mistakes that undermine your case, and you’ll have made it far easier for your defense attorney to be able to help you.