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TALKING ABOUT YOUR CASE

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.

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