Common Mistakes to Avoid When Facing Criminal Charges in Washington State

Getting charged with a crime is an intense situation that might cause a person to make mistakes that could come back to haunt them. Sometimes, the police do not have enough evidence to make a case against you, but they bluff, hoping that they can trip you up and give them something they can use against you.

Your first call after getting arrested or charged with a criminal offense should be to a Washington criminal defense attorney. This blog will cover some of the common mistakes to avoid when facing criminal charges in Washington State. 

First, Do Not Escalate the Situation

There are tragic stories on the news on a regular basis about what can happen when an interaction with the police turns violent. You can only lose in these situations, so you do not want to provoke the officer. Stay calm and polite. Do not resist arrest. Do not be rude or disrespectful. Your words and conduct can get used against you.

Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Continuing with the theme of your words getting used against you, the U.S. Constitution grants you the right to remain silent. Simply tell the police that you want to talk to an attorney, and then keep quiet. Anything you say can get used to justify a search warrant or get told to the jury in court.

Wait until you talk to a lawyer about your case before answering questions from the police. Your attorney can advise you on how to respond to the questions. Also, be sure to have a lawyer present during questioning.

Warrantless Searches

Usually, the police must first obtain a search warrant before coming into your residence or searching your vehicle. There are some exceptions, but most of the time, they need a warrant. The police might pressure you to consent to a search when they do not have a warrant by telling you that you have nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide. Resist the temptation to give in. Politely refuse the search and call a lawyer.

Tell Your Lawyer All the Facts

Some people try to outsmart the system, even their own attorney. They withhold crucial information from their lawyer. When a criminal defendant does this, they prevent their attorney from being able to prepare a defense on that issue. Your lawyer will not appreciate getting blindsided at trial with no opportunity to get evidence to counter the hidden facts.

Do Not Agree to Certain Types of Samples

You should not voluntarily provide evidence without a court order or the advice of your attorney. This includes clothing, handwriting, fingerprints, a blood sample, or any other bodily fluid. The prosecution will use these items against you. They might not have been able to get a court order based on their existing information, so they would not have been able to obtain the sample without your help.

Hoping the Charges Will Disappear

A common mistake is to desperately hope the criminal charges will somehow go away on their own or if you tell your side of the story to the police or prosecutor. Valuable time slips away when people delay talking to a lawyer. A Washington criminal defense attorney can start protecting your legal rights as soon as they start working on your case. Contact our office today for help with your case.

DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights, and some general information on various aspects of criminal cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.