Once you have been formally charged with a felony offense, there’s a very good possibility that you have already been arrested, fingerprinted, ID’d, interrogated, and spent some time in jail before bail could be set. At arraignment, you will be required to appear in court to enter a plea, which should be “not guilty.” You should say nothing else unless directed otherwise by your attorney as part of plea negotiations with the prosecution. Here are some critical tips to remember:
- Remain silent about your charges except with your attorney. Many people have negatively impacted their case by speaking with law enforcement of the prosecution before discussing the matter with a criminal defense attorney. Even family and spouses should be avoided in discussion, as hard as it may seem. The only person you should talk freely with is your attorney.
- Collect every detail and provide it to your attorney. Even seemingly mundane facts can be helpful to your defense. Tell your attorney as much as possible, even if remembered days or weeks later.
- Remain courteous and polite in hearings. There can be many preliminary hearings prior to trial. Remain polite with everyone, no matter how stressful it can be.
Being charged with a felony can be a disturbing, anxiety-causing experience, but you need to keep your wits. Listen to your defense attorney, stay calm, and remain confident in your case.