8 Steps to Take When You’re Charged with a Felony

We tend to think that arrests happen quickly and right at the scene of a crime, but that’s not always the case. Often, individuals know they’ll be charged with a crime outside the presence of police.

If this is the situation you’re currently facing, you probably want to know what’s coming. What should you do if you learn that there is a warrant for your arrest? How can you create the best possible defense? What will your Minnesota felony defense lawyer do to help you out? Here are eight things you must do when you’re charged with a felony in the state of Minnesota if you hope for a favorable outcome to your case.

1. Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

You’ve heard it on TV shows, and now it’s relevant to your case: you have the right to remain silent. Many Americans are familiar with the Miranda warning, which law enforcement is required to recite to suspects before questioning someone in custody. It is a detective’s job to solve crimes, so they’ll try to get you talking no matter what – even if you didn’t commit the crime. If you are accused of a crime, remember that law enforcement is not there to help you. They want to help prosecutors secure a conviction. Your words can be twisted and used against you. The best practice is to respectfully decline to speak as soon as you’re approached by law enforcement. This will make it easier for your Minnesota felony attorney to defend you down the line.

2. Attend Your Initial Appearance and Bail Hearing

It may be possible for an attorney to arrange for the warrant to be quashed prior to your initial appearance or you may need to turn yourself in. If you are out of custody and a court date is set, make sure to not forget about it. If bail has not already been set, the judge will address bail and conditions of release at this hearing. Make sure your attorney is aware of your financial situation along with any other concerns you may have. The Judge will want to make sure that you understand your charges and what your rights are as well.

3. Choose the Right Minnesota Felony Defense Attorney

You should choose your defense attorney promptly, but don’t choose the very first felony lawyer in Minnesota you come across. Do some research to see if there is an attorney who has lots of experience with your specific charges. Our criminal defense attorneys in Minnesota can help you defend against homicide, felony assault, drug crimes, or any other felony charge.

4. Develop a Defense Strategy

Once you’ve selected the perfect defense attorney, they can start to learn more about the case and develop a defense strategy. You’re the only one who knows what really happened at the time you were accused of committing the crime, so make sure to give your attorney all the details they need to merge the facts of your case and the letter of the law. With the right information, an attorney can know how to best defend your case. This could lead to a dismissal, a not guilty verdict, or a successful plea negotiation.

5. Identify Key Witnesses

Police officers and investigators working for the prosecution will definitely talk with and identify key witnesses to the alleged crime. Knowing who these witnesses are is critical for your defense strategy. Making a list of those who were there at the time of the alleged crime and trying to document what each person may have seen can be helpful to understand the evidence against you. There may also be witnesses who agree with your version of events and could ultimately make or break your case. Don’t do your own investigation, but speak with your attorney about who knows what so that they can best compile the statements.

6. Discuss with Your Attorney Challenging the Evidence

In order for the prosecution to use evidence at trial, that evidence must have been obtained constitutionally. If the police did not adhere to the Constitution, potentially harmful evidence can be suppressed or thrown out. If a Police officer did not have the requisite suspicion, or if they performed a search without a warrant, that evidence should not be used against you. Having an attorney with both knowledge of the Constitution and evidentiary standards can go a long way to help you obtain a favorable outcome.

7. Never Miss a Court Date

You may have many court dates and it may be difficult to get to them all. Please don’t ever consider missing one of your court dates. Your respectful presence is an indicator of your responsibility and is more likely to show the judge you can be trusted not to make mistakes in the future. Missing a court date can also violate the terms of your bail, so put the date on your calendar and make sure to reach out to your attorney if there are any issues.

8. Don’t Panic

Being charged with a crime is not pleasant, and there are a lot of unknowns initially. Try to take things one step at a time, and don’t allow yourself to become too overwhelmed. It can cause you to make mistakes that will hurt your case, like speaking to law enforcement or missing court dates. Have faith that your Minnesota felony defense attorney will represent you well and will fight for your rights.

If you need legal counsel as you navigate your felony charge, our Minnesota felony defense law firm can help. Sieben Edmunds Miller’s defense attorneys have years of experience representing clients in assault, burglary, kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, and homicide cases – and more. Give our office a call at (651) 323-2464 to get started.