Being charged with a criminal offense puts a lot on your line - your rights, freedom, and future. Whether it's a DUI, misdemeanor, or serious felony allegation, you face serious penalties upon conviction. If you wish to protect yourself against the penalties at stake in your unique case, you need to fight the charges against you.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Orange County, The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman is available to help you take the right steps toward defending yourself from the very moment you reach out to us. Because we know that what you do and say following an arrest can have an impact on your defense and the trajectory of your case, we wanted to provide a few key points to help you get started.
Arrested? Here's what you should know:
- Know Your Rights - Whether you are under investigation or have already been charged with a crime, it is essential that you know your rights. Most importantly, you should understand that you have the right to remain silent. Your Fifth Amendment right protects you against self-incrimination, and it should be exercised whenever you have contact with law enforcement, or when officers or investigators attempt to contact or interview you. You do not have to speak to law enforcement, and doing so is usually not in your best interests. Additionally, you should understand that you have every right to defend yourself in court and that you can enlist the help of a defense attorney when doing so.
- Don't Plead Guilty - Far too many criminal defendants plead guilty without attempting to create a defense in their case or pursue options for more favorable resolutions. Just because you have been charged with a crime does not mean that you will be convicted automatically. You have the right to challenge the government's case against you! Pleading guilty limits your options, and subjects you to penalties that could have potentially been avoided or mitigated.
- Know the Charges - You need to understand the charges you face in order to understand what you are up against. Were you charged with a misdemeanor or a felony? Although both are serious, felony allegations have the potential for severe penalties, including terms of imprisonment, hefty fines, unsavory criminal records, and a loss of your civil rights. When you know what's at stake, you can be better prepared for building a strong defense and working with the right professionals who can make that happen.
- Know Your Options - Criminal cases are always unique, and there may be options for not only defending your innocence but also for pursuing more favorable resolutions. This includes the possibility of reduced charged and penalties, as well as alternative sentencing options that may provide you with alternatives to standard sentences or terms of imprisonment (i.e. treatment in lieu of convictions or jail).
- Call a Lawyer - Ultimately, it is best to remember that you don't know what you don't know. When your future is on the line, the best step you can take to protect it is to work with a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system and how to create effective defense strategies that can secure favorable resolutions based on the unique facts and circumstances of your case. That's exactly what Attorney Jacqueline Goodman has spent more than 20 years doing on behalf of the accused, and why we're readily available to help as soon as you make the call.
Get started on your defense by contacting us to discuss your rights, options, and what The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman can do to help you.