Whether you are a past offender, currently facing criminal charges, or have a clean record, these criminal law tips are facts that everyone needs to know. Not only can having this knowledge protect you and your loved ones in various situations, it can help you navigate current and future legal issues that are in the works. Continue reading to learn 10 criminal law facts and advice, and be sure to pass this information onto your friends, co-workers, and loved ones.
Important Criminal Defense Tips
1. If you are pulled over and an officer suspects you have been drinking, you have the right to refuse a sobriety test. But there is a serious catch. Keep in mind that this also means law enforcement will arrest you on the spot, and your drivers’ license will be automatically suspended for 12 months. This is because most states, such as Indiana, are “implied consent” states. This means if you have a drivers’ license, then you automatically consent to BAC testing anytime.
2. If law enforcement shows up at your house or office requesting to conduct a search of the premises, you have the right to refuse. If they have a search warrant, you do not have this right and you must cooperate with them completely. If they do not have a search warrant, close the door and immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer.
3. If you are confronted by law enforcement, always be courteous and cooperative. Having an attitude, being disrespectful, and refusing to cooperate will only get you in more trouble. If you want the best experience possible with police, whether you end up getting arrested or not, be sure you are polite, well-spoken, and cooperative. They have all the power at the moment, and you must remember that you do not have control over the situation, so it is best to just give in and relinquish all the control. This will make your time with police and jail (if it gets to that) a lot easier for you.
4. If you are already on probation or parole for a previous offense, and you commit another crime, you will face additional legal sentences and penalties on top of the one you are currently serving. Many people are unaware how serious of an offense it is to violate probation or parole, especially by committing another crime. You can most certainly expect to be sentenced to jail time.
5. A minor is a person over the age of 10 and under the age of 18. However, minors can be charged as an adult in certain cases. This usually happens if the crime is very serious or if the minor is close to turning 18 years old. Being tried as an adult means that a minor faces adult penalties.
6. If you are a past offender, and it has been many years since your last offense, you may qualify to have your criminal record sealed from public access. This means that employers, banks, landlords, and the general public cannot look up a particular criminal charge or arrest. You must have a criminal defense lawyer help you file for record sealing, as the process is highly complex and demanding.
7. To get a complete copy of your criminal record, you must compile all records in every county and state they exist. That is because local, state, and federal records are all different. You will have to contact the clerk’s office or local authorities to get the records you need. You can also have your criminal defense lawyer help you with this.
8. Never waive your right to an attorney. Furthermore, never attempt to represent yourself in court. If you want to avoid the maximum penalties for your criminal charges, you need to have an experienced lawyer working on your defense. They are the only ones who have the knowledge and resources to protect your rights and preserve your freedoms.
9. You have to be very careful what you post to your social media accounts. You must understand that your social media activity can be used against you in a court of law, even traffic court, divorce court, and other civil courts. Law enforcement and government organizations have technology that allows them to identify IP addresses, locations, coordinates, times, dates, and more. If you post from a coffee shop on the corner of 9th and Main, they can find out. Nothing is private on your social media, and all activity is permanently logged forever.
10. The best way to avoid getting in trouble with the law is to surround yourself with positive and healthy people, and to partake in healthy activities. Furthermore, educating yourself on certain particulars of the law can help you understand your rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen. If you ever have questions about the law, contact a trusted criminal defense lawyer for professional advice and answers.