Common Mistakes to Avoid When Facing Criminal Charges

Posted on April 30, 2024

criminal defence lawyer toronto

Facing criminal charges is an undoubtedly daunting and difficult time. Most people who are being charged for the first time don't know what to do next. Once you've been arrested, detained, or criminal charges have been laid, the subsequent actions you take are critical because the steps you take during this period can influence the outcome of your case. To ensure you navigate the situation strategically and to protect your interest, enhance your defence with the best criminal lawyer you can find. Working with the tried and true Karrass Law team led by Robert Karrass, who will guide you through the best actions for your defence with smart legal advice. 

Here's some insight to navigate criminal charges by avoiding these common mistakes.

Not Seeking Legal Representation

One of the most significant mistakes people make when facing criminal charges is delaying or failing to seek qualified legal representation. Everyone has the right to an attorney, so if you don't already have a criminal lawyer on your team, it's a smart move to select the best defence lawyer available. The lawyer you choose should have a proven track record and experience with similar cases. At Karrass Law, our team is equipped with criminal and civil lawyers who span a variety of specialties, enhancing our ability to address all of your concerns and the nuances of your unique situation. 

Talking to Law Enforcement without an Attorney

Many individuals make the mistake of speaking to police or other law enforcement agencies without a lawyer present. You have a right to be silent. If you speak without first seeking legal advice or aw a reputable criminal lawyer by your side, you may risk compromising your case since anything you say can be used against you in court. The best criminal defence lawyer will advise you on what to say and when or whether to remain silent, which can significantly protect your legal rights and position in the case.

Ignoring Your Lawyer's Advice

Once you have secured legal representation, another common mistake is not following the legal advice provided. Your lawyer has the expertise and experience to navigate the criminal justice system and offers guidance based on what's best for your case. The Karrass Law team has vast experience with the criminal justice system and can provide you personalized guidance. Robert Karrass and the Karrass Law team are committed to advocating for your defence so you can get the best possible outcome, and every piece of legal advice we offer aligns with that goal.

Withholding Information from Your Lawyer

At Karrass Law, your defence lawyer and the entire legal team are here to help you and be on your side. To ensure the strongest possible fence, your lawyer must know all the relevant facts of the case. This will prepare your legal team for evidence that the Crown will present and allow your defence attorney to analyze every detail and uncover information that will better support your case. Withholding information can hinder your defence, whether out of fear, embarrassment, or mistrust. Transparency is crucial in ensuring that there are no surprises during the trial that could undermine your case.

Not Understanding Bail Conditions

If bail is granted, you must still comply with the regulations and stipulations outlined by the court. Failing to fully understand and comply with bail conditions can lead to re-arrest and further complications in your case. Violating bail conditions, even accidentally, can be seen as disregard for the judicial process and may negatively impact your credibility in court. It’s essential to discuss the terms of your bail with your lawyer and make sure you understand what is required of you to avoid further legal trouble.

Sharing Details About Your Case on Social Media

In today's day and age, where people are inclined to share videos, images, and posts about their lives on social media, it is common for individuals to share details about criminal charges and the incidents surrounding them on social media. Discussing your case or sharing details publicly can be harmful for several reasons. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials often review social media profiles for evidence or contradictions in your story. It's best to keep details of your case off the internet and follow the legal advice of your attorney regarding communications.

Talking to the Media

Engaging with the media is another critical area where many individuals facing criminal charges make mistakes. While it may be tempting to tell your side of the story to the public, speaking to the media without strategic planning and legal guidance can backfire dramatically.

Potential Consequences of Media Exposure

When the media reaches out to you to comment on a high profile case, it may be tempting to go on record and defend your name, but media outlets may not always present your statements the way you intended. And the public may not receive it in a positive light, as subtle nuances can be lost and quotes can be taken out of context. 
By engaging with the media and discussing the details of your case publicly, outside of a controlled statement from your criminal defence lawyer, you may prejudice your court proceeding. This can influence public opinion prior to your trial, complicating essential processes, especially jury selection. 

Unplanned or uncontrolled statements can sometimes be taken as an admission of guilt and can be used by the prosecution against you in court. Often, the best strategy is to avoid media interaction altogether. Silence cannot be misquoted and prevents additional complications in the legal process. The most successful legal proceedings are guided by criminal defence lawyers who can help you control how you are represented inside of the courtroom and out. 

Contacting Complainants or Witnesses

Attempting to contact complainants or witnesses is a severe mistake. This can be construed as tampering with witnesses, leading to additional charges. It can also negatively impact the perception of your character in court. It is essential to allow your lawyer to handle all communications related to the case, including interactions with witnesses and the prosecution.

Not Following Preparation for Court

When you have to be in court, whether it's for a preliminary hearing, bail hearing, or trial, you must follow your lawyer's guidance. Court is where you face the people, whether it's just the judge or a jury too, who are responsible for the results of your case from the verdict to the sentencing. If your lawyer requires your participation in court, you may be subject to interviews and rehearsals. Engaging in these preparations will improve how you're received by these key decision-makers, as these are critical opportunities to align your testimony and strengthen your case.

Misunderstanding the Charges and Their Consequences

The Ontario criminal code has over 800 sections, so it's difficult for the average person who doesn't have an in-depth knowledge of various criminal charges in Ontario and the repercussions of being found guilty. If you have been charged with a crime, don't rely solely on your independent research. Instead, talk to a knowledgeable law firm near you. As some of the best criminal defence lawyers in Toronto, the Karrass Law team will explain the nuance of the charges and the type of penalties associated with them. By understanding the details of the charges, you enable more informed decision-making. 

Losing Your Temper

When facing such stress, it's important to communicate calmly and let your criminal lawyer advocate on your behalf. Reacting emotionally, especially in confrontational situations, can lead to remarks or actions that may later be used against you in court. Always remember that maintaining a calm and composed demeanour is part of the strategy advised by the best criminal defence lawyer to ensure you present yourself in the best light possible and help facilitate a more favourable outcome in your case.

Choosing the Wrong Type of Lawyer

While any lawyer can represent you, not all lawyers are suited for criminal defence. For instance, a civil lawyer in Toronto without experience in the criminal field tends to not have the same experience as a criminal defense lawyer that is experienced in representing those who have faced criminal charges. At Karrasss Law, Robert Karrass and our team not only specialize in civil law but also criminal law. Robert Karrass has worked on a variety of criminal cases, successfully advocating for the best possible outcome for his clients. 

Rushing to Accept a Plea Deal

Plea deals are offers made before a criminal charge makes its way into court. When the potential penalties for a charge are intimidating, defendants are more inclined to hastily accept a plea deal. While these offers may seem promising, they mustn't be accepted until their implications are fully understood. The best way to get insight into the benefits of a deal is to book a legal consultation with the Karrass Law team. We will evaluate whether the deal offered is fair and advisable based on the evidence and circumstances of your case. In many cases, better outcomes can be negotiated or achieved through trial.

Losing Hope and Motivation

Finally, facing criminal charges can be an emotionally draining experience that might affect your motivation and mental health. Maintaining a positive outlook and actively participating in your defence is essential. Remember, having the best criminal defence lawyer by your side increases your chances of achieving a favourable outcome. Robert Karraas and the team do more than provide legal advice; at Karrass Law, we are committed to creating zealous arguments, strong cases, and non-judgemental representation. 

Protect Yourself with the Best Criminal Defence Lawyer

Navigating the complexities of criminal charges requires careful consideration and strategic planning. The Karrass Law team will help you prevent these mistakes to improve the outcome of your case. To get started, book a legal consultation with our team. 

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