Steps to Take When Charged With a Criminal Offense

The American legal system has certain protections in place for people charged with criminal acts. These protections are meant to ensure that the government does their job honestly and that justice is served. Unfortunately many people find themselves on the wrong side of the law at some point in their lives. Being charged with a crime is a serious situation that can affect a person for the rest of their lives. There are a few steps to take when charged with a criminal offense that every person should know.

Self Incrimination

People that incriminate themselves make the jobs of police officers and the state extremely easy. A person should never consent to a search of their home, car or business. If they have already done so then there is really no way to fix that issue. Consenting to a search makes declaring the search illegal nearly impossible. When incarcerated or being arrested a person should refuse to talk to police officers or anyone else who isn’t their lawyer. The government cannot take away a person’s right to silence, and taking advantage of this right will make sure a person doesn’t slip up and say something that can later be used against them.

Get Out of Jail

Getting out of jail is highly important due to the fact that a person cannot properly assist in their defense if they are imprisoned. The accused should have a hearing to determine bail relatively quickly. Some crimes even have a predetermined bail amount so that a hearing may not even be necessary. Once a person obtains bail they need to either have someone pay the full bail amount or contact a bail bondsman who will usually charge a ten percent fee of the bail to gain a person’s freedom. If the cost of bail is too high then it is important to have a lawyer who can appeal for a lower bail amount. If a judge refuses to grant bail then the accused is going to need a lawyer quickly.

Get a Lawyer

Obtaining the services of a good lawyer is pertinent to overcoming any criminal charge. The state will provide an attorney, but these lawyers are often interested in just getting a case in and out of court as quickly as possible to save the state money. It isn’t advisable to get a lawyer in every case. Traffic tickets or any other minor offense hardly calls for a criminal defense team, but a person still has the right to get a lawyer in these situations if they wish.

Getting a lawyer quickly will allow a person plenty of time to consult with the attorney on what the best course of action is in their particular situation. If the attorney suggests going to trial then the accused should get any evidence they know to exist and get it in the hands of their lawyer. The prosecution is going to try to find as much evidence against a defendant as possible. This makes it advisable for the defendant to gather any information that may assist them in a timely fashion.

The criminal justice system is a difficult one to navigate through, particularly if a person hasn’t been on either side of the system before. There are several mistakes that a person can make if they are charged with a crime, but following a few simple rules will minimize any damage that could occur. Having a criminal record can hinder future jobs, military service, college admissions and several other important things in life. Because of this it is necessary to know how to work through the criminal justice system.

This post was provided by Ken Ervin, a law professor of 15 years. He suggests that the top Toronto criminal defence lawyer can be found at

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