3 Major Mistakes Defendants Make Pre-Trial

Posted on: 13 January 2021

If you are facing criminal charges, it is understandable that you are afraid and might make mistakes. Unfortunately, these common mistakes may compromise your trial. Knowing some common mistakes defendants make may help you if you ever face charges.

Giving Inconsistent Statements

Many defendants may find themselves backed into a corner, especially at trial, when they give inconsistent statements. In most cases, this is indicative of deceit and will make it easier for the state to mount a defense against you at trial. This is the main reason it is important to remain silent and invoke your right to a lawyer, no matter whether you are guilty or innocent. A lawyer can sit in on interrogations and tell you whether you should or should not answer specific questions. Additionally, you and your lawyer can formulate a strategy that may benefit you at trial.

Believing Detectives

Detectives use many tactics to gain information or a confession out of defendants. A detective may imply that you will be charged with a lesser crime or be let go if you give a confession or otherwise reveal significant information about the crime. One of the major reasons this is not true is because the District Attorney (or Commonwealth Attorney) has sole discretion regarding what charges will be filed and whether a plea deal is on the table.

Another tactic detective may use is threats of consequences for not revealing information. This may include empty threats involving someone else who may or may not be involved in the crime. Pitting defendants against each other is another tactic and usually involves the belief that another person is already telling on you to lessen their charges. You have no way of knowing if anyone said anything about the crime, so it's best not to fall for these investigation tactics.

Distrusting Your Lawyer

It is important to trust your lawyer, whether you chose them or whether they were court-appointed. When you do not help your lawyer by revealing all relevant information, you only make it harder for them to defend you. Depending on the type of case, there are several pieces of information that might be necessary to either return a verdict of not-guilty or lessen the punishment if you are found guilty. Beyond what you know about the crime and your level of involvement, your lawyer may need to interview people not only as witnesses to the crime but as character witnesses. Mitigating information may be relevant in some cases, such as a family history of drug use or abuse, or your own personal struggles with mental health and drugs.

Everyone should know what to do if they are ever detained or face criminal charges. Avoiding some common mistakes may improve the outcome if the case goes to trial. A criminal lawyer can be your most useful resource if you are facing a criminal case.