Biggest Mistakes To Avoid in a DC Criminal Case

When a person has been charged, or even just accused, of committing a criminal offense in Washington, DC, there are certain mistakes that a person should avoid making. The key to avoiding these and other mistakes when facing a criminal charge in DC is seeking the counsel of a DC criminal defense attorney immediately. An experienced attorney will be able to help a person navigate the process of a criminal case right from the beginning and ensure that an aggressive defense is prepared.

#1: Making Any Statements to Law Enforcement

When a person is charged with a crime in DC, the worst thing they can do is make a statement to law enforcement officers. Even if a person has yet to be charged, it is important that they first try to seek legal counsel before attempting to explain their side of the story. An criminal attorney will be able to keep their client from saying anything that would further incriminate them or be used against them at trial.

#2: Discussing the Facts of the Case

Another related mistake would be discussing the facts of the case or charges, including what the circumstances were and what actually happened, with other individuals. This applies to family, friends, or strangers, whether it be in person or on the phone. This is particularly important since a phone can be taken into custody and those conversations can be potentially used against the defendant.

What often can happen is the government may not have witnesses or sufficient witnesses to prove their case, but then the defendant starts discussing what they did or did not do with others, and the government can now use what a person says to further investigate the people mentioned.

There have been numerous cases where an individual is charged with a crime and it would appear that the government’s evidence is lacking. Then the individual starts talking to other people and has filled in the blanks, and the government now has witnesses who can say “here’s exactly what the defendant said” or “the defendant admitted to X, Y, and Z” and now the government’s case is substantially stronger.

#3: Not Contacting a Local Criminal Lawyer

Another mistake is not seeking the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who is intimately familiar with the courts in which the case is filed. Oftentimes individuals may have a family attorney or a friend or acquaintance who is an attorney whom they think can help. While that is true in the abstract, in reality, every jurisdiction is different with regard to the specific statutes, the specific laws, the specific courts and procedures, and the prosecutorial offices.

An attorney who is experienced in Maryland is likely unfamiliar with the DC courts, and therefore would not know the prosecutors, the judges, the procedures, and the specific laws. Even while an attorney may have great experience in criminal defense work in general, they may not be the right person to handle a criminal defense case in the District of Columbia.

For this reason, it is critical that anyone who is charged with a criminal offense in the District of Columbia finds an attorney who has the relevant experience. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a DC criminal lawyer today.