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Do you know how to respond to criminal charges?

When you face criminal charges, your next several choices are suddenly very important to your ongoing freedom. If you react poorly, or more specifically react in a way that makes you appear guilty, you do yourself no favors and may even worsen your chances of beating the allegations.

Whether your charges involve drug possession, assault or something else, it is important to remember that charges are not the same as convictions. Even though charges are very serious, there is a very real possibility that you may overcome them and see them dismissed, as long as you build an effective defense.

It is unwise to attempt to explain away your actions to the police or to anyone else. Police may use anything you say against you, so limiting what you say is generally wise. If you speak with friends about the matter, the prosecution may try to compel them to testify about your conversation during your trial.

To reduce the risk of conviction, don't discuss the source of the charges with your friends, colleagues or even your family. Instead, you should consult with an attorney to explore your options and enjoy confidentiality.

It is similarly unwise to attempt to cover up a mistake if the charges have some legitimate grounds. You may still have room to argue against the charges or to claim that the prosecution or arresting officer did not follow proper procedure, which may result in the dismissal of charges. Before you make any rash choices you'll regret, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to better understand your rights and available defenses.

Source: FindLaw, "Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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