Regardless of whether you committed the crime or not, there are things that can be avoided to prevent your criminal case from being jeopardized. Following these basic rules may mean the difference between freedom and punishment. Feel free to talk to a Tennessee criminal law lawyer if you have questions about this.
Talking About Your Case
Always remember your Miranda Rights. These rights allow you to remain silent when asked questions about your crime and grant you a lawyer if you do not already have one. Remaining silent is essential for protecting you from information the courts can use against you. Saying one wrong thing could make a difference in the outcomes of your case.
This means do not talk to police other than giving basic information, do not talk to other prisoners, and avoid talking about your crime over the jail phone. Some clients have had information given to the court by a prisoner or
someone who was listening to their phone conversations. Despite you not knowing this information would be used in court, the prosecutor may find ways around this and your information might be used against you. In this kind of situation, sometimes the best thing to do is to avoid discussing your crime until the trial or until you talk to a lawyer.
Many people do not realize the power their Miranda Rights give them. The right to remain silent means you can decline an interrogation by the police. You can also decline to provide information when the state tries to have you do a psychological evaluation. Psychological evaluations are often used to judge whether you should be locked up for a longer period of time and can be used to invoke the death penalty in some cases.
Not Cooperating with The Court or Your Lawyer
Working with your lawyer is important for your case. A lack of cooperation may lead to worse legal outcomes. Our goal as lawyers is to decrease the punishments you could receive. Sometimes that involves making a compromise with the state that may involve some jail time or a milder punishment than what you could receive without making a deal.
Working out a criminal case can be stressful for both you and your lawyer. Lying to your lawyer or not focusing on the case at hand can make the situation worse. Cooperating with the court orders that result from your criminal trial is also important. Potential outcomes for your case may involve a guilty plea, retirement, dismissal, or diversion.
A diversion means the state has decided to enlist you in a mandatory program that your successful completion could earn you dismissal of charges. Following through with the program requirements can mean no jail time, fines, or other more severe punishments.