So, you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime? You might be wondering if it would be best to just go ahead and just work out a quick deal and move on. Perhaps the police offered you a plea agreement that keeps you from doing time in jail. Maybe a charismatic investigator or prosecutor has explained that your crime is not that serious, and you will fare better if you simply confess to the charge. You’ve probably heard that you should never talk to police without a lawyer present, but you may not really understand why. After all, what exactly can a lawyer do for you?
Well, South Carolina criminal defense lawyers want you to understand just a few of the most basic and practical reasons why you should never speak to the police or a prosecutor without your own attorney present.
#1: It’s Your Constitutional Right
Ask yourself this simple question: If it didn’t matter, why would we need to put it in the Constitution? The fact is, the Sixth Amendment to our nation’s constitution protects your right to have a lawyer defend you in any criminal action. Even if you don’t fully understand your lawyer’s role, never waive your Constitutional rights.
#2: It’s Hard to Coerce a Confession With a Lawyer Sitting Next to You
Think the police and prosecutors would never be able to get you to confess to a crime you didn’t commit? Think again. In fact, there is an entire Netflix Original Series, called “The Confession Tapes,” which follows the stories of people who confessed to crimes they claim they never committed. According to the Innocence Project, 1 out of 4 people who were wrongfully convicted and later proven to be innocent were convicted on the basis of false confessions. You don’t need to understand the science behind false confessions. Just know that if you have an attorney present, it’s a lot harder for the police to use their tactics to compel a confession.
#3: Avoid Saying Something That Could Lead to Other Charges
Many times, people simply try to ‘talk their way out of” a criminal charge. However, by trying to explain one crime, they accidentally admit facts that they don’t even realize incriminate them for a different crime – a crime they may not even know exists.
#4: Get the Benefit of Decades of Legal Experience
No matter how smart you are or how much you study up on a subject, the fact is, an experienced criminal defense lawyer has likely been through hundreds or even thousands of similar cases. He or she is used to dealing with the police and prosecutors and may even know them personally. Take advantage of that wisdom and put it to work for you.
#5: Because Your Life Depends on it
This may seem like an exaggeration, but think about it. Even a seemingly “minor” infraction, such as a DUI or theft charge can have lasting effects on your life for years to come. A conviction can keep you from getting certain jobs, it can prohibit you from getting certain professional certifications or licenses, and if it’s a felony, it can even affect where you are able to rent an apartment, the careers you can take, your ability to vote, child custody, and many other areas of your life. If there was ever a time to play it safe, now is that time.
30 Years of Experience at Your Fingertips
If you’ve been charged with a crime in the Anderson, SC area, call the hard-working and compassionate legal team of Krause, Moorhead & Draisen, P.A. Put our more than 30 years of experience to work for you.
J. Kirkman Moorhead is Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Anderson, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 24 years now. Mr. Moorhead believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience here.