You are short on time and you need to know the three top tips right now.
Here you go:
- Stop Talking To Everyone Except Your Lawyer About The Case. Whatever you do, DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. If they show up at your door, place of work, call you, or even arrest you, politely tell them you will not speak to them without your lawyer present. Do not waive your miranda rights or any other right (search, seizure, etc.). Require the police get a warrant to search your phone, computer, home, car, anything.
Do not speak with DHS, even when they threaten to take your children away. It feels like an impossible situation, but when facing the possibility of up to life in prison versus the immediate satisfaction of “fighting” for your kids, taking those steps necessary to give you the best chance to avoid prison wins. It wins every single time. Bonus information: DHS is going to take your kids even if you talk with them. So lawyer up.
Friends, co-workers, even family, none of these individuals can be in receipt of any of the facts of the case as they come from your mouth. Every person you speak to becomes a potential witness against you in this case. Do not put these people in a situation where they must decide how they will testify on the stand. Also, friendships and relationships (including marriages) change when these cases get filed or the arrest makes the news. As such, a friend or lover today can be a star witness for the prosecution tomorrow. More bonus information: DO NOT bring your significant other to the initial client interview.
Counselors, teachers, physicians, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, etc. Do not talk to these people about the facts of the case. Regardless of what you are told, the privilege of confidentiality likely does not exist. Their duty to report suspected sex crimes and crimes against children is ever changing. They are in the “when in doubt, disclose to law enforcement” mindset.
- Safeguard Evidence, Finances, Family, and Employment. Evidence that is favorable to you must be safeguarded and available for your attorney to review. Evidence that is bad for you as well as evidence that is good for you will be seized by law enforcement. If it is seized and a copy or something else tangible to reflect the evidence is not available for your lawyer, it may be months, if ever, until your attorney gets to see it. If the evidence is digital, one method to preserve the evidence is to upload it to the cloud and secure it with a password that only you know. Do not give the password to anyone, especially law enforcement. The police lose evidence or “accidentally” destroy evidence that can help a client all the time. It is amazing that anytime evidence is bad for you, it is properly preserved, but if it helps you, it disappears or is destroyed or a malfunction occurred.
Furthermore, if the police have it, your lawyer doesn’t, and the prosecution does not have to turn it over until 10 days prior to trial. More than likely it will disappear or be buried in other discovery and the prosecutor may never see it until it is too late. If it is a physical piece of evidence, photograph it or take video of it. If it is written, copy it or take a photo. Upload the photos to the cloud. Do not leave the photos or digital copies on your phone or camera.
Finances and continued employment are critical to your defense. You can’t hire a lawyer or post your bond without your finances in order and available. Make sure you conduct an exhaustive inventory of your finances to include all assets and not just cash or your bank balance. Then make sure your cash or bank accounts are secure and available to you. Do not tell your employer about the arrest or charges until you have spoken with your lawyer. It is usually not in your best interest they find out unless absolutely necessary. There is a very high probability you will be terminated once they find out. These types of charges shock employers and your fellow employees, and as such, they react defensively.
Family serves as the emotional cornerstone of this journey. You must protect your love ones from as many of the adverse effects as possible. If you have a spouse or children, do not disclose the details of the charges until you have spoken with your lawyer. If you believe you will be arrested immediately, get out of the house so your children or spouse are not subjected to seeing you arrested. Contact your lawyer to get the name and number of a bondsman that won’t screw you over. Then get down there and hire your lawyer (if you have not already) and the bondsman and then go post the bond and surrender yourself with the assistance of your bondsman. Communicate to your spouse and children that everything will be alright and that you are going to hire the best lawyer you can and fight these charges to the very end. Consistently reassure your family that you will get through this. Constantly work to strengthen the family ties and bonds. Even the strongest marriage and family is tested during these cases. Keep working on the health of these relationships.
- Try to Remain Calm. This is probably the most difficult of the three tips. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how exactly you should achieve a sense of calm during these events. The initial charge, arrest, or allegation should be as scary as hell and strike the fear of God into every part of your being. However, panic or fear can be one of your greatest enemies when the case first starts.
Fear and panic can drive decisions based upon emotion and not reason. They routinely cause people to hire the first lawyer that answers the phone or that they meet with. The client erroneously feels they have just got to have a lawyer, any lawyer right now. The emotional decision making process can cause people to talk to police or family or friends, even when they know they shouldn’t. Calm and deliberate decision-making based upon due diligence, reason, and logic gives you the best chance to avoid any one of the potential disasters you may face when emotional and reactive decision-making is the alternative. Emotional decisions produce poor judgment which produce bad results.
You cannot fix this problem, so quit trying to fix it yourself. Create a list or checklist of what to do and what not to do. Then make plans to interview 1-3 attorneys that devote their practice to sex crimes in the next 24-72 hours, create a financial inventory and financial access plan, create a list of all witnesses and evidence that is/are favorable to you and a plan to safeguard it, develop a childcare plan if necessary, take a look at your employer’s leave policies and HR policies, and finally draft a short one to two sentence statement that you will tell your friends and family when they ask about the case. Anything you write, draft, or prepare in anticipation of litigation or for your attorney or defense of the case, write the words “Attorney Work Product.” This may provide some degree of protection in case the items are seized by law enforcement.
Hopefully, these quick tips have given you a few ideas that will help to educate and empower you on this difficult journey you are now taking.
Once you have determined you are a good candidate for my defense practice, call me at (918) 384-0850 to schedule the Initial Client Interview and to discuss your defense options moving forward.