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Top 5 Mistakes Criminal Defendants Make

Sometimes the biggest danger to a defendant is themselves because of their lack of understanding or education about the criminal justice system. Let’s discuss some of the common mistakes criminal defendants make in their cases.

Hiring the most or least expensive lawyer

Price should not be the determining factor when hiring a lawyer. Important factors to consider are the attorney’s communication, sincere commitment to your case, and the team’s legal ability and skills. Be prepared to ask questions during your consult and build a rapport with the attorney. Understanding the law firm’s core values, mission, and purpose are key to finding the right fit.

Sharing information on social media

According to the Miranda warnings, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” This also pertains to social media or anything online – including photos, videos, captions, or messages to others. Defendants who discuss their case on social media or with others can cause serious damage to their case. #dontsayaword #bequiet #dontspeak #nohashtags

Disclosing information while in Custody

“You have the right to remain silent.” Suspects in a crime are not required to give a statement to the police when being investigated and do not have to provide written or oral statements after an arrest. Once in custody, keep in mind that jail calls are recorded and will be secured and reviewed by the prosecution. It is also important to know that it is a mistake to speak to other inmates about the case – as other inmates can turn into cooperative witnesses for the prosecution.

Failure to maintain professionalism in court

Showing up to court late, underdressed, or with a bad attitude can be detrimental to a case. To avoid this mistake, show up early and dress like you are going on a job interview. Do not fall asleep in court and address others with respect – if there is a personal call that needs to be taken or you are upset about something that took place make sure to have those conversations outside of the courtroom so they are not overheard by the District Attorney, bailiffs, or other people in the courthouse.

Not Trusting their Attorney

If you take your time in researching and exploring experienced lawyers that make you feel comfortable and secure, then let that be a good enough reason to put your full trust in them. A lack of honesty and communication can lead to a breakdown in the attorney/client relationship.

If you are facing criminal charges, then it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. A skilled attorney may be able to help you avoid potential life-long and serious consequences for you and your family. We understand that charges can arise from a simple mistake, lack of judgment, or even a complete misunderstanding and we are here to help. Contact The Nieves Law Firm today for a free consultation!

Author Bio

Jo-Anna Nieves is the Founder and Managing Attorney of The Nieves Law Firm, an Oakland criminal defense law firm she created in 2012. With more than 11 years of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, domestic violence, expungement, federal crimes, juvenile law, motions to vacate, sex crimes, violent crimes, and other criminal charges.

Jo-Anna received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Super Lawyer Rising Star the past 8 years, the #12 Fastest Growing Law Firm in the U.S. by Law Firm 500 in 2019, and one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc 5000 in 2023.

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