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What You Need to Know When Facing Prosecution for Criminal Activity

Photograph of handcuffs and a gavel.

Facing charges and arrest for alleged criminal activity is a terrifying position to be in — unfortunately, when you’re under extreme stress and facing intimidation from law enforcement, it’s easy to make mistakes and accidentally act against your own best interests.

Are you facing prosecution for criminal activity? Knowing what to do and how to act can improve both your case and your chances of a fair outcome. Here are some things you can keep in mind to build a strong defense and clear your name.

What to Do and What Not to Do When Facing Arrest

In the panic of the moment, it’s easy to make mistakes that will weaken your case and your chances of a fair outcome. Here’s what not to do if you’re facing arrest:

  • Do not resist arrest. Fighting against arresting law enforcement officers can lead to an added charge for resisting arrest. Go with the police officers peacefully and immediately request to contact your lawyer to fight the criminal charges.
  • Do not consent to anything. Law enforcement officials may request to search your belongings, home, car, or work office. Unless they present a proper warrant for searching your property, do not consent to such searches, especially not in an attempt to appear more innocent.
  • Do not talk about your case with others. Make sure to fully utilize your right to remain silent, even among people whom you may trust, such as your family, friends, and other loved ones. Aside from answering questions about your identity, politely inform the law enforcers that you will exercise your right to remain silent and wait until your lawyer arrives.
  • Do not antagonize the police. Although it is normal to be outraged over a false accusation or criminal charge, it is important to remain polite to any law enforcement officer that may arrest or question you. If you antagonize the police or behave aggressively towards them, they may press additional charges against you.

Now that you know what to avoid, we can cover the information you can gather and the steps you can take to improve your chances of a fair trial:

    • Know your basic rights. Even as someone accused of criminal activity, you still retain your basic constitutional rights. These include your right to remain silent, your right to a trial by jury, and your right to either settle the matter with the plaintiff or before a judge.
  • Assert your constitutional rights to have an attorney present. Once you have requested to speak to your lawyer, maintain your right to remain silent while waiting for them. You can also assert your rights to have your lawyer present if the police request to conduct a search of your house, property, or person.
    • Hire a criminal defense lawyer. Alternatively, you may request for a public defender to be appointed to your case. Regardless of whether you’re innocent or guilty, it’s crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to help you navigate your case and negotiate on your behalf.
    • Know that criminal suspects cannot be held for long without official charges. Even if you are suspected of criminal activity, the police cannot place you in a holding cell for an extended period without officially charging you of the crime.
  • Go over the facts of your arrest. Try to keep as calm as possible and focus on going over the facts of the arrest, especially any charges or pending charges brought against you. Start considering any possible evidence, documents, or witnesses that may help you clear your name. Note down all of these to discuss with your lawyer when they arrive.
  • Attend all required court dates. Be mindful of any court summons and appear on all requested dates to avoid any additional charges related to failing to appear. This includes arraignments and preliminary hearings.

How a Dedicated Criminal Defense Lawyer in Maryland Can Help

Regardless of whether you’re innocent or guilty, it is crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you navigate your case. Criminal charges are complex; it’s always best to have a Maryland defense lawyer to protect your rights while providing expert advice and legal support.

Our expert attorneys have years of experience with and a deep understanding of Maryland’s complex legal system. If you’re facing any criminal charges, stand up for your rights and improve your chances of a fair trial by contacting us, or call our experts at (443) 543-8517. With offices in Baltimore, Columbia, Towson, Northern Virginia, Westminster, and Dundalk, we’re here to help you with any questions you may have.