Terri Daniel, Attorney at Law, PLLCTerri DanielAttorney at Law, PLLC

What should you know as a first-time offender?

When you're accused of a crime and it's your first offense, it can be a very confusing time in your life. If you've never been arrested or involved in the criminal justice system, you might not know what to do next, what to expect or even what your rights are.

If you've been accused of a crime, the first thing you should know is that you have a right to speak with your attorney. Whether you're facing a misdemeanor charge or felony, working with an attorney is a good idea for a few reasons.

First, your attorney knows the legal system and the laws that may impact your case. They can help you understand what is happening and why, so you can know what to expect.

Second, they're familiar with judges and prosecutors. They may know the way these people think, which helps them build you a defense that works. For example, a very strict judge may have specific pieces of information that they like to receive or a certain way they'd like defendants to dress. Any inside information can help you look better in court and improve your chances of avoiding a conviction or minimizing the damage from one.

A third reason to talk to your attorney is because they know how to defend people in your situation and know how to protect your rights. You may be surprised to know that some juries could be biased or that the authorities could make mistakes when collecting evidence. Your attorney's job is to look for bias and mistakes, so that they can protect you against unfair treatment.

After you talk to your attorney, they'll start guiding you on what you should (or should not) do or say. For example, they can speak with you before an interview with the police and help you avoid saying things that might make it harder to defend yourself later. They can help you know how to act in court and explain the appropriate way to address the judge. They can even help you dress a certain way to make a better impression.

As a first-time offender, you should take your case seriously. Don't think that a first-time offense will be treated with leniency. It's up to you to take steps to protect yourself and your rights. Your attorney will be there to help you do so and to provide you with the support you need throughout the process.

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Terri Daniel, Attorney at Law, PLLC
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