When a person comes to our office with pending criminal case, it is a very stressful situation. Whether it is a petit theft, a battery, or a DUI, the person’s future is at stake, and the situation has affected them and their entire family.
1. Write Down Everything You Remember
Each criminal defense case is different, and should be evaluated individually and researched thoroughly. We tell our clients that first they need to write down everything that they remember from the incident. This means sitting down and typing up or writing out every single detail of the day or night in question. Many times the summary will be crucial to finding defenses the State’ case, because days or weeks later details fade and the person accused of a crime will no longer remember what happened. What you should consider writing down are statements made by the person to the police officers, what was said by the police officers, was Miranda read, what time of day was it, who was present, who could be a potential witness, and what actually happened.
2. Working a Case is a Team Effort
We also tell our criminal defense and DUI clients, that they need to understand when they hire a criminal defense attorney, it is a team effort to work on their case. This team consist of their criminal defense attorney and their staff, but most importantly it includes the client himself. Only the client knows exactly what happened during the incident in question and can shed light on the facts of the case, which would lead to defenses.
3. Be Careful With Social Media
The third item that we always mention to criminal defense clients, is they need to be careful about social media. This especially applies to our younger clients, who frequently use social media and text messaging to communicate with their friends. Whether the case is a DUI, petit theft, or a battery, it doesn’t matter, you should not be posting on social media as to what happened or what the police did. If the person is accused of a criminal offense, and she posts on social media what she said or what happened, those statements can be admissible in court and can be considered admission of guilt. It is very important to consider Facebook, Twitter, texting off limits when talking about the pending criminal case. This includes talking about the criminal case to potential witnesses. You should not be discussing your case with anybody other than your criminal defense attorney.
Unfortunately, we are aware of numerous examples where in criminal cases, a defendant has put the outcome of the case in question because of the statements made on social media.
Of course, the reverse can be true, and from the criminal defense stand point, we can use statements made on social media by witnesses, or alleged victims against them.
All criminal defense cases, even if their 2nd degree misdemeanors, can have a very serious impact on a person’s future. Don’t ever assume that just because it is a second-degree misdemeanor, such as attaching tag not assigned it will not have any impact. We recently represented a client on a DUI charge. We were successful in getting the charge dropped to a reckless driving and negotiating a Withhold of Adjudication. We then proceeded with the sealing of the case, and he was denied because 15 years ago he paid an open container ticket. Or at least what he thought was a ticket. In reality by paying that he entered a plea to a second-degree misdemeanor and was adjudicated guilty. We than had to petition the court to allow a withhold of adjudication on that case, in order to go back to the Florida Department of law-enforcement to allow the sealing of the reckless driving. These offenses can haunt you years later, do not ignore them, consult a criminal defense attorney to help you understand your options.