Criminal defense attorneys have an ethical duty to represent the interests of their clients regardless of suspected guilt or innocence. At The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, we take this responsibility very seriously because we don’t believe that wayward missteps or a wrongful arrest should dictate the quality of a person’s future.
Unfortunately (and often despite our guidance), it’s not unusual for a defendant to make a small error that influences the outcome of their case. For this reason, our Virginia Beach criminal defense lawyer has compiled this list to help you sidestep the little mistakes that habitually jeopardize criminal defense cases.
Mistake #1: Posting on Social Media
Social media has become an integral facet of our day-to-day lives. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – we use these powerful social networking platforms to keep a running record of our lives, stay in contact with friends, and even reconnect with distant family members. But the content and images you share online can have a critical impact on your criminal defense case.
While we don’t recommend deleting your accounts, it’s important to regulate what you and your loved ones post online. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials have adapted to the smartphone era and are adept at requesting and gathering damning evidence from social media websites. You’d be surprised at how a prosecutor can twist the narrative of a Facebook post to strengthen their argument and influence the jury. Unfortunately, even posts that you think our private can come back to haunt you in the courtroom, regardless of your privacy settings. If you have any concerns about your social media accounts, it’s essential that you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible.
So, above all else, keep your thoughts and daily activities offline until your case is over.
Mistake #2: Failing to Respect the Court
Whether you’re preparing for a preliminary hearing or a trial, you need to be ready to make a positive first impression. Judges and jury members are only human, and how you look and behave can absolutely influence your case result.
Follow these 12 tips to show that you respect the court:
- Meet with your lawyer to make sure you’re prepared
- Pick out your outfit in advance (stick to conservative and work-appropriate attire)
- Never fail to appear at court
- Arrive early to the courtroom
- Turn off your cell phone
- Devote 100% of your attention to the proceedings
- Stand when the judge enters the courtroom
- Address the judge as “Your honor”
- Use “Yes, sir/ma’am” and “No, sir/ma’am” when speaking to legal representatives
- Remain calm and try not to fidget or display nervous ticks
- Don’t let the prosecution rile you
- Trust your attorney to litigate on your behalf
Mistake #3: Choosing the Wrong Attorney
As a criminal defendant, you have a constitutional right to legal representation. While you can represent yourself or rely on a court-appointed public defender, a private lawyer usually gets the best results. Because they provide free services, public defenders have huge caseloads and very little time to spend on individual cases and clients. Plus, you don’t get to pick the public defender who is assigned to your case.
A private attorney, on the other hand, can be your greatest ally when you’re facing criminal charges. These trial-tested lawyers have an in-depth understanding of criminal law and court procedures. Also, unlike private defenders, they have the time, ability, and motivation to meticulously investigate all risks and angles associated with your case, effectively increasing your chances of securing a positive case outcome.
There are many benefits to retaining private counsel, including:
- A private attorney has a limited caseload, allowing them to spend more time on your case
- A private attorney’s priority is to build a strong and aggressive case strategy
- A private attorney and their staff are available whenever you need them
- A private attorney has the resources to thoroughly investigate your case
- A private attorney has experience representing complex criminal defense cases
- A private attorney is knowledgeable about legal loopholes that can work in your favor
- A private attorney likely knows the prosecutors and judges involved in your case
- A private attorney can help you secure a case dismissal, acquittal, or charge reduction
- A private attorney can provide emotional and moral support
Of course, it’s important to do your research before hiring a legal representative. When your freedom and future are in jeopardy, turn to a criminal defense lawyer with a proven record of success and the skills to achieve your legal objectives.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you’re facing criminal charges, contact the Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller. Our legal team is backed by over 20 years of experience and is available to you 24/7. We can investigate your case, root out instances of police misconduct, track down key witnesses, compile vital evidence, and aggressively advocate for your best interests in court.
Don’t gamble with your future. Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller at (757) 517-2942 to schedule a free consultation.