Charged With A Crime? Three Critical First Steps

If you are charged with a crime and required to attend court, chances are you will get lots of well-meaning advice from family and friends. However, in this situation, it is easy More ยป

Charged With A Crime? Three Critical First Steps

If you are charged with a crime and required to attend court, chances are you will get lots of well-meaning advice from family and friends. However, in this situation, it is easy to make things worse for yourself, and there are three critical steps you should take without delay.

Firstly, make sure you know exactly what you have been charged with and what the consequences might be if you are found guilty of the offense. The police will have given you or sent you a document called an “information” (in some jurisdictions this is called a charge-sheet, and may sometimes be accompanied by a summons requiring you to attend court). This document will state what the charge is, but it won’t usually say the penalty or other consequences of being convicted. Even if you have been told the maximum penalty prescribed for the offense, there are sometimes other consequences of being found guilty that are far worse than the prescribed penalty. For example, if you are convicted of a drug possession offense, you might be able to avoid going to jail, but that conviction on your record could mean you are denied entry to many countries around