You can talk to your criminal defense lawyer and anyone he allows. That’s it. Consider everyone else a potential witness for the prosecution, who wants to convict you. The entire state or federal government, with its awesome power and unlimited resources, stands against you. Your freedom and reputation are on the line. Don’t gamble with them.
Don’t Talk To Strangers…And Everyone Is a Stranger Until Your Lawyer Says Otherwise
I’ll say it again: don’t talk to anyone without your lawyer’s consent. This includes the obvious and not-so-obvious:
- The police. This may seem no-brainer, but folks charged with crimes do crazy, desperate things. You’re not talking your way out of this alone. You don’t have to like it, but you need to accept it. Is your brother-in-law a cop? Then he’s off limits until your case is resolved.
- Victim. This is the state’s chief witness! Contacting him in any form could get you rearrested. Threatening him is a separate criminal offense and evidence of your guilt of the original crime. If the victim was willing to give you a break, he never would have called the police in the first place. Let your lawyer handle the victim.
- Friends. They come and go. Don’t be victimized by one who goes, or talks too much to the wrong people. How can you tell if your friends will do this? You can’t. So don’t discuss your case with them.
- Strangers. We recently reported a high profile case where a young man got his bail revoked and thrown in jail because he talked to the wrong stranger on a train—a reporter who leaked the possible bail violation. Don’t talk to strangers. For you, everyone’s a stranger.
Don’t Ever Do This
There are two forms of communication to NEVER, EVER USE without your lawyer’s advice:
- Social media. If you saw someone charged with a crime call a press conference to protest her innocence, you’d likely think she was a little crazy. Social media’s no different. It’s a broadcast. Worse, it’s in writing. It could be taken the wrong way. Assume the state will find it, because the prosecutor probably will. Think your Facebook page is private? Not when it gets printed out and passed around or forwarded. I’ve used Twitter feeds to devastatingly cross-examine so-called victims. You can expect the state to do the same to you. For more info on this topic, read what I told the media about social media and court cases.
- Emails. Did you know one of the things that REALLY got the Duke lacrosse case going against the team was a player’s tasteless email that was really just a movie quote
The problem with social media is that it’s in writing, so it never goes away. And once it’s out, whoever gets it can take it to whomever they want—you lose total control of your audience. The last thing most people accused of crime need is an audience. It’s another way of talking to strangers, which you don’t do when you’re charged with a crime. While your case is pending, just stay away from the online world completely.
Always Do This
If you are charged with a crime or being investigated for one, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. You need someone who knows how the law and the system works so they can help make it work for you. This system is way beyond you, and you need someone who understands how it works, to make it work for you. And because it's a huge decision in your life, yes, you CAN bring a trusted friend or family member to the meeting to make sure the defense attorney answers all your questions and have someone else's feedback on the attorney.
Yes, there are exceptions on who you can't talk to. Just don’t risk guessing about them without a full discussion and guidance from a criminal defense attorney you trust, because he knows what he’s doing.
If you are even being investigated, call us immediately for a free meeting to talk about how we can help you. If you’re already charged, you should do the same so we can help you get your back off the wall. The number is at the top of this page. Use it.