Being accused of a crime in Michigan can be an intimidating situation to be in. You may feel panicked and unsure of how to proceed. The following are four mistakes to avoid if you are accused of a crime in Michigan.
Talking to police or prosecutors without an attorney
One mistake is to talk to police or prosecutors without having an attorney present. The Fifth Amendment protects your right not to incriminate yourself and the Sixth Amendment protects your right to counsel. This means that you have the right to remain silent when being interrogated by police or prosecutors. In fact, if you do speak to police or prosecutors voluntarily these words can be used against you – most likely even if you are not Mirandized, or “read your rights”. So, it is better to remain silent until you can speak to an attorney.
Trying to “work things out” with the victim
It may be tempting to try to “work things out” with the alleged victim in order to avoid legal action. However, even if you think you have worked things out on your own, the alleged victim still has the right to press charges if appropriate. Working things out on your own could also backfire if the workout implies you are guilty. Trying to work it out could be used as evidence against you. It could also make it more difficult to defend your actions. It may also lead to additional charges, such as witness tampering or obstruction of justice. Don’t try to “work things out” on your own.
Discussing the matter on social media
These days many people regularly post events of their lives on social media platforms. However, if you are accused of a crime you may want to take a break from posting anything on social media. This is because statements made on social media could be used against you in a court of law, jeopardizing your case.
Not hiring an attorney
It is true that you could defend yourself in court, but it is better to hire an attorney. Even a lawyer that represents themselves “has a fool for a client”. After all, most people do not know much if anything about how to present the best possible arguments in their favor or even how the criminal justice system works. Also, as the accused, emotions may take over and compromise your judgement – even if you are an attorney. An objective criminal defense attorneys have the necessary education and knowledge to represent you in court. Trying to defend yourself will likely lead to an unfavorable outcome in your case.
Ultimately, it is important not to do anything that may jeopardize your case. Understanding your criminal defense rights is a good first step to take.