How You Can Help Your Attorney with Your Defense

Whether you are facing misdemeanor charges or felony charges, what you do and do not do can make a big difference as far as whether your defense attorney is able to persuade the court to find you not guilty.

The Right to Remain Silent

Even people who have never set foot in a courtroom have heard a police officer in a movie say to a defendant, “You have the right to remain silent.” That right does not simply apply to the ride from the scene of the arrest to the police station. Consider the next part of the warning, which is, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” If you say something, your attorney can not erase what you said. This right does not apply only to what you say to police. These are some important ways to exercise your right to remain silent.

  • Do not speak to police without your attorney present and without first consulting with your attorney.
  • Do not discuss your case in any detail with friends or family while it is ongoing. If the court calls them as witnesses, they are required, under penalty of perjury, to tell the truth. You can risk causing legal trouble for your friends and family if you tell them too much about your case.
  • Do not post anything on social media, even if it does not seem to be related to your case. It is almost impossible to take back things you say online. 

What to Say and What Not to Say to Your Attorney

When you meet with your attorney, let him or her do most of the talking. As a criminal defense attorney, he or she knows what questions to ask. Answer those questions honestly. Your attorney will ask you questions to help your case, even if you are worried that answering them could hurt your case, in order to determine whether to advise you to plead guilty or go to trial. Do not lie to your attorney; this will always backfire.

Likewise, do not simply spill your guts and go on in detail about every illegal act you have ever committed. Discussing a criminal case with an attorney is not the same as confessing sins to a priest. Your lawyer is the only person with whom you can be candid about your case while it is ongoing, but you should say just enough, not too much.

Contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss About Criminal Defense Cases 

Attorney Tatum O’Brien can help you present the strongest possible defense in a criminal court.  Contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss in Fargo, North Dakota or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 for a consultation.

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