No matter how confusing things seem after you are arrested, it's no time to hide. Legal events can begin to happen before you are even released on bail so being ready and seeking help is advisable. To find out about some big decisions coming your way after an arrest and how to handle them, read on.
How Do You Plead?
You might have only been arrested a few hours ago and yet you may find yourself standing before a judge and being asked a bunch of questions. Few defendants have a lawyer by their side at this preliminary hearing that might be called an arraignment or bail hearing. However, the two most important answers to the questions asked by the judge are not live or die in nature. Here is what is likely to be asked of you and what you should say:
- How do you plead? You will have ample opportunities to change your plea later.
- Do you have a lawyer? Only those in extreme poverty qualify for a public defender. Hiring a private lawyer provides you with much-needed credibility in the courtroom, plenty of attention from the lawyer, and expert criminal defense advice to get you through the remainder of your case. Also, if you are denied bail at the arraignment, you will need a lawyer to argue for your release.
Make a Deal
Almost every case can be subject to a plea bargain — homicides and more included. A plea bargain presents you with the chance to skip the jury trial and go straight to the sentencing portion. Do not try to negotiate a plea bargain on your own unless you also happen to be a defense attorney. There are too many unknowns still involved in the case. For example, your lawyer will quickly find out what the prosecutor has against you in terms of evidence. Weak evidence equals a better plea deal. Strong evidence means you might need to take the deal. Don't make this decision without carefully considering your options and speaking with your lawyer.
Order in the Courtroom
If you do end up in court, more decisions await you. One of the biggest decisions is whether or not to take the stand in your own defense. This is not something your lawyer can decide for you but they can use their experience and powers of observation to advise you on what might happen either way.
It's important to bring a criminal defense lawyer on board as soon as you can after you are released from jail. Contact a criminal lawyer for more information.