What to Do If You Find Yourself in Legal Trouble
If you find yourself in legal trouble and are charged with a crime, it can feel incredibly overwhelming. Therefore, it is essential to understand what you should do if you find yourself in this position. The legal system can be very complex, but if you have a basic understanding of what happens in the federal criminal process and what you need to do, you will support yourself through the process.
Here is some more information to help you get started.
Seek legal support
A criminal defense attorney has trained for years to understand the complexities of the legal system and support individuals through the process. Therefore, it is essential, as soon as you find yourself in trouble or have been officially charged with a crime, to seek legal support.
An attorney will have the experience of similar cases to support you and a thorough understanding of the legal process. They will also have the resources to seek evidence to support your claim, speak to experts and witnesses, file the correct paperwork, and represent your case competently in court.
If charges are brought against you, and they are serious, you could be arrested when you are charged. If this is the case, you will be taken to an initial hearing with a magistrate judge. Here you will learn more about the charges against you and your rights. This information is vital to your well-being and case, so make sure you fully understand what is being said.
Understand the legal process
Although you may seek support from a criminal defense attorney, it is also vital that you take time to understand what you have been charged with, the potential consequences, and the legal process you are about to go through. Each state has its laws and the court system, so how they handle criminal cases will differ.
First, there will be an investigation. This is the process whereby evidence will be collected against you and provided to the State Attorney within the relevant district. This is so that prosecutors can better understand the case and decide what action to take moving forward. Once enough evidence has been collected to form a case, there will be an official charge against you. If you have been indicted against a grand jury, you will be given formal notice of the crime committed and the charges they are bringing against you.
If your case is up against a grand jury, then it is likely your lawsuit will be held in the United States District Court. The jury usually consists of 16-23 members. Evidence about the case will be presented to the grand jury, including an outline of the case, and any witnesses that have been called to testify. All the information that is given to the grand jury is sealed and not released to the public during the case so that external sources or opinions do not influence them.
The grand jury has to remain impartial, and after all the evidence has been presented, speak in private to discuss whether there is enough evidence against you to bring charges of the crime in question.
The legal system is extremely complex, so if you find yourself in trouble, the most important thing you can do is learn about your rights, your charges, the legal process and seek legal support.