DO NOT be confrontational or disrespectful when you are speaking with police officers. Often, your overall tone and attitude will be a determining factor on how the officer decides to proceed. If asked, you should provide your name, address and phone number.
If an officer begins to ask questions beyond the basic personal information above, DO NOT answer the questions without your attorney present. You have the right to inform the officer that you wish to remain silent until your attorney is present. Even if you are completely innocent, this is not the time to tell the police your story. Any detail you give the police may later be used against you. The most simple statement on your part can later be used for purposes you never anticipated or intended.
DO obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Time is not on your side. When you hire your attorney, he or she will immediately begin to prepare the best possible defense tailored to your particular case. Any delay on obtaining an attorney is an advantage to police and prosecutors.
DO choose your attorney wisely. Notwithstanding the previous point, you have no obligation to hire the first attorney you consult. Ask him or her about their experience handling your particular matter. If your best friend had a wonderful divorce attorney, that does not mean that same attorney would be the best fit for you and your situation. If you do not connect with the attorney or feel comfortable with him or her, look elsewhere.
DO NOT withhold information from your attorney, no matter how embarrassing it may seem or how insignificant a detail may seem. Your attorney needs to know everything pertaining to your case, in honest and thorough detail. This is the only way to prepare your best possible defense. If you withhold important information, chances are that it will eventually emerge anyway. It is very important that you fully and truthfully answer any questions your attorney may have for you. Your case depends on it.
Along with that, DO give your attorney any and all documentation relating to your case. It is not your job to decide if it is important. That is why you have an attorney. The smallest bit of information can make or break a case. Please provide anything that you may have: pictures, text messages, videos, court documents you have received.
DO make sure that you keep your contact information updated with your attorney. If you move, change phone numbers or email, please inform your attorney. A good defense attorney will need to be in contact with you often.
We understand that, in the event of a criminal case, it often becomes the center of your life. You want to talk about it. However, there are three very big DON’TS that you need to keep in mind. DO NOT post the slightest detail about your case on any form of social media. It is considered public domain. Even if you have the highest privacy settings on your account, the information may be read by someone who may later be asked to testify. DO NOT talk about your case to your friends or family. It is very understandable that they may be concerned and want to know what is going on and that you may want to discuss it with them so that you feel supported. You must remember, however, they may be called to testify against you later. No matter how hard it may be, please do not discuss your case with anyone except for your attorney. Finally, if you are in jail, DO NOT discuss your case over the phone or to anyone you meet. None of your phone conversations are private and it is certainly not unheard of for an inmate to trade information for a reduced sentence.
Following these general principles will give you the greatest opportunity for a successful defense and the best possible outcome of your criminal case.