The shoulds and shouldn’ts of dealing with criminal courts

When you are having to deal with police officers, it is best to know some basic points about what you should and shouldn’t do and what they should and shouldn’t do. This will give you the knowledge that you need so that you can make mental notes that might be useful down the road if you end up facing criminal charges.

One important point to know is that police don’t have to have evidence that you are guilty of a crime to arrest you for the crime. They only have to have probable cause to believe that you did the crime. If you are arrested and kept in custody, you will have an arraignment within a couple of days after the arrest. If you aren’t in custody, it might not be as quick.

If you are asked to speak to police, think very carefully. Generally, it is a good idea to speak to an attorney before talking to police officers. The officers might be investigating you and you might not know it. Having an attorney with you when you are being questioned by police officers can help you ensure that you aren’t incriminating yourself.

Once you are arrested for a crime, you will start going to court. If you plead not guilty, you will have several court appearances. You will likely have an arraignment, a preliminary hearing, a pretrial conference and a trial. Other court appearances might be added in between these, and some of these might be combined or omitted. During each of these, you must make sure that you don’t do anything that will sabotage your defense.

Source: FindLaw, “Common Criminal Law Questions,” accessed Sep. 28, 2016

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