It is very frequently the case that criminal defendants hurt their cases
by talking to the wrong people. Here are a few tips on three different
areas: talking to law enforcement, talking to friends and family, and
talking to your lawyer.
TALKING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
Unless your attorney advises you to do so, it is usually a bad idea to
talk to the police or prosecutor about your case. It is far more likely
to hurt your case than it is to help it. You don’t know exactly
what evidence the police have against you, and statements you make could
prevent you from being able to use your best defense.
TALKING TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY
While discussing the details of your case with friends and family may not
always hurt your case, it rarely helps it. For one thing, what you say
to friends and family is not privileged, and generally speaking, anyone
who is not your attorney could be forced to testify about what you told
them. Secondly, although the legal advice you get from friends and family
may be well meaning, it is usually not be the best advice. You may know
someone else who has been charged with a crime, but this does not make
this person an expert on criminal law. Every case is different, and you
should get legal advice only from a qualified criminal defense lawyer attorney.
TALKING TO YOUR ATTORNEY
My advice would be to tell your attorney everything that happened, and
tell your attorney the truth. This may seem like common sense, but you
would be surprised how many people don’t do this. Some people seem
to think that if their lawyer believes themn to be innocent, the lawyer
will fight harder for them, so they leave out certain details that they
think make them look bad, or twist the facts a bit.
If you don’t think your lawyer is going to do all he or she can to
fight for you, get a different lawyer; but failing to give your lawyer
accurate facts can affect his or her ability to fight for you as well
as their ability to give you sound legal advice.
Some people leave out certain details because they think they are irrelevant,
but your best bet is to give your attorney all the facts and let them
decide what is or isn’t important to your defense.
When it comes to discussing the details of your case with others, the general
rule of thumb is that you should tell your attorney everything, and tell
everyone else nothing.