Are you facing criminal charges in Texas and wondering what steps you should take? Above all, the first thing you need to do is contact an attorney.
You don’t have to commit to hiring any specific attorney right away – you can get a free consultation from a few different attorneys before making your decision.
However, don’t wait to make contact. Reaching out will help you understand your legal options better.
1. You need an attorney for all criminal charges
It doesn’t matter how small your charges are – all criminal charges require a skilled attorney. There are nuances you won’t be able to navigate in the courtroom if you try to represent yourself. Doing so could create a disastrous case outcome.
Some of the most common criminal charges people face in Texas include:
- Drug charges
- Aggravated assault
- Assault/aggravated assault
- Sexual assault/rape
All of these charges are serious and you’ll have the best chance at an ideal case outcome with an attorney.
2. Don’t talk to the police
You’ve heard people say, “don’t talk to the police,” and this is solid advice. However, the reason you don’t want to talk to the police is a little more nuanced than you might think.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you against self-incrimination. Anything and everything you say to a police officer can be self-incriminating.
The biggest problem with talking to the police is that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. However, nothing you say can be used in your defense. Anything you tell a police officer is considered hearsay and cannot be used as evidence.
Although what you say to a police officer can’t be used as evidence, it can create a sticky situation. For example, if a police officer lies and says you admitted to the crime, you’ll now have someone’s word against yours. Even if it’s not used as evidence, it will paint a shaky picture for the judge and jury.
Maintain the ability to state that you never spoke to the police and no conversation took place. However, ask your attorney for advice on how to interact with police and politely decline their requests for a conversation.
3. Don’t post on social media
Social media is the last place you should be when you’re facing criminal charges. The prosecution will scour your social media accounts for information that could be used against you. This might include posts, comments, and photos.
Stay off of social media completely when you’re facing criminal charges. Don’t post comments, don’t post to your timeline, and don’t upload any photos, even if they’re old. Don’t even upload photos of your pets because anything in the background of the photo could be used against you. Also, a photo’s EXIF data could also be used to establish your whereabouts, so err on the side of caution and ignore social media.
Although you should abandon posting, don’t delete any of your posts. If you delete your posts, comments, or photos, the prosecution might accuse you of destroying evidence. Instead, lock down your accounts by making them private, cull your friends list if needed, and turn all of your existing posts to friends-only. You might be required to provide access to your account, but don’t make it easy.
4. Don’t discuss your case with anyone
It’s tempting to discuss your case with your friends and family, but resist the temptation, no matter how hard it gets. You might have one friend you can talk with about your case in confidence, but anything you say to other people could end up being used against you if they are subpoenaed to testify.
When you talk to people about your case, you don’t realize those conversations could put them in an awkward position later on. They might not even want to testify, but if they must, their testimony could end up ruining your friendship.
Keep all discussions about your case between you and your attorney to ensure you get the best possible case outcome.
Keep your stress levels low
Perhaps the most important thing to do when facing criminal charges is to keep your stress levels low. Stress creates many health problems, and it also perpetuates anxiety that can make you feel angry or depressed.
Take care of yourself as much as possible. Eat good food, go for walks, and take long, hot baths. Prioritize taking care of yourself so you can be in a good emotional state when you go to court.