Getting arrested is a common occurrence in the United States of America. One study found that, by age 23, almost half of African-American men and 40 percent men of Caucasian men had been arrested. There are a variety of reasons for that; some of which are more defensible than others. However, that’s another subject. The fact remains that being arrested is still a big deal, even if it seems to happen to a significant portion of the population. It can mess up your future if you don’t fight for your rights in criminal court. Some people think they’ll be rewarded for cooperating, so they answer every question a police officer asks them, and never ask for a lawyer. However, doing something like that risks making a bad situation much worse.
Attorneys Know Your Rights
TV shows like Law and Order can be entertaining, but they don’t do the best job of explaining our rights to us. A lawyer is the best person to do that. On TV, a suspect who clams up and demands a lawyer is often seen as shady or guilty. However, there’s nothing shady about exercising the rights afforded to you in the U.S. Constitution. There’s an urban legend that says police have to answer if asked, “Are you a cop?” However, that legend has no basis in reality. Police often lie when they’re on the job. A cop may tell you, “Just answer these questions and we’ll let you go,” but there’s nothing stopping the officer from going back on his or her word and arresting you, once you provide an incriminating answer. It’s hard to remember your exact rights if you get pulled over and an officer starts questioning you. That doesn’t mean you should lie, though. Lying to a police officer is worse than saying nothing at all. Instead, decline with due respect to answer questions and ask for an attorney. Remember to get a local attorney who works with local prosecutors and police officers on a regular basis. If you’re taken into custody in Ann Arbor, Michigan, you need to obtain an Ann Arbor lawyer as quickly as possible.
A Fair Outcome
It’s possible that your attorney will listen to your side of the story, talk to prosecutors, and recommend that you plead guilty to a lesser charge, as part of a plea deal. Don’t expect your attorney to recommend fighting the case all the way through a trial, especially if there’s any damning evidence that police obtained within legal boundaries. Listen to your attorney, and trust that they know what they’re doing. If they don’t seem to know what they’re talking about, then it’s time to consider firing them and hiring someone more competent.
Pros and Cons
You may not want to plead guilty to so much as a misdemeanor, which is your right. However, remember that prosecutors don’t have to drop any charges, either. It’s true that over 90 percent of state and federal cases end in plea bargains. However, if you believe in your innocence, taking the case to trial may be the best way to go, assuming you have the time and money to fight all the way to completion. Think about what happens if you’re found guilty of one or more felonies, though. Felonies make getting a job harder. It can make renting an apartment more difficult. A significant portion of our daily life depends on passing background checks. Install a visitor management system at your workplace, and look at how many people it rejects based on criminal convictions. Misdemeanors aren’t great, but they’re generally a more surmountable hurdle than misdemeanors.