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13 Ways to Mess Up Your Criminal Case

13 Ways to Mess Up Your Criminal Case

We often have clients that come in having messed up their criminal case. We can fix their case for them of course but it could’ve been without as much work or consequences to the client.

There are many ways to mess up your criminal case. We discuss the 13 more common ones here. Some are self explanatory and others require some explanation.

Here are the 13 most common ways you can mess up your case:

1. Talking to the Police. It is true that the police are here to protect us. We greatly appreciate law enforcement for the work they do and putting their lives on the line so we can live safely and peacefully here in middle Tennessee.

If you are under investigation though exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. DO NOT TALK TO LAW ENFORCEMENT if you think you might have committed a crime or they are trying to talk to you because they are searching for a suspect.

As the Pot Brothers say: “Shut the F@*K Up!”

2. Talking in Jail

We don’t have first hand knowledge of this but we have heard that law enforcement at times plants inmates in jail. We have also heard that inmates rat out other inmates.

Keep your mouth shut. Don’t talk about your case to anyone except your lawyer and his or her office. Don’t trade moments of feeling better by talking about your case while your waiting for what seems like forever for your case to end for possibly handing over information that will keep you locked up longer.

As the Pot Brothers say: “Shut the F@*K Up!”

3. Talking on Jail Phones

The District Attorney's office in some middle Tennessee love to listen to inmates spill their guts on the jail phones. Not only does it provide them with entertainment it gives them information to use against you when you go to court.

Don’t talk about anything that could be used against you in court. Whether it’s the case you’re currently in jail for or one you’re not charged with yet.

Recently a client of ours was in custody and contacted associates who the District Attorney believed to be involved in the same drug ring. This hurt his offer. We still got a charges reduced, three dismissed and a very good offer but this hurt his case.

As the Pot Brothers say: “Shut the F@*K Up!”

4. Not Hiring the Best Attorney You Can Afford

Even if you are pleading guilty you need an attorney. Some potential clients call us and say I am just going to plead guilty so why should I waste the money you would charge. We explain that we went to school for 7 years after high school to learn to do a job in a short amount of time. We ask what they do for a living and we explain we couldn’t do their job as good as they can.

Hiring an attorney is wise. We guide you through the process, look for ways to save money, limit jail, limit the damage to your record and we save you tons of time. That’s why you should hire the best attorney you can afford even if you end up pleading guilty.

5. Stressing Out Your Attorney or Lying to your attorney

Stressing out your attorney. We understand you are going through one of the most, if not the most stressful time of your life. Getting arrested ranks up there with death and divorce as far as stress goes. That is why you hire an attorney. You need someone that is detached emotionally and can guide you through the legal system you find yourself in.

Many clients make the mistake of thinking their attorney is their spouse, best friend and psychiatrist. Although attorneys often counsel their clients, us included, we want you to know that we are laser focused to accomplish two things: 1) limit your jail; and 2) limit the damage to your record.

If you bombard us with irrelevant facts or drama we lose time and waste energy that would be better spent working on your case not trying to help you feel better. Talk to your mental health professional for that.

Lying to your attorney. Recently a client left out an important fact and I presented his case to the District Attorney’s office and they knew about that fact. We got a good deal that kept him out of jail but it could have been better.

Don’t lie to your attorney. Don’t withhold information either. You don’t want to use your attorney as the place to dump all your emotional baggage but you do need to tell your attorney the facts and do so honestly. Everything you tell your attorney and his or her team is confidential.

6. Doing Illegal Activity while waiting for your court date

Some things seem self evident but this one happens more often than you think. You are under a lot of stress because of your court case and arrest. You go out to relax and have a few drinks and then get a DUI. Or you are needing money because you paid your attorney and rent is due so you steal and get caught.

Do not do anything illegal while you have a case pending. This greatly hurts both cases. Get creative and do things above board while your case is pending.

7. Doing Drugs

Just say no. Find alternatives. I firmly believe we suffer trauma as children, find things to make us feel better which become habits then those habits turn into addictions which eventually get us in trouble.

If you use any drugs that are illegal it will hurt your criminal court case. If you use any drugs that are legal but you don’t have a prescription it will hurt your court case. The DA’s office often wants a drug test as part of a plea agreement and you will be test on probation.

CBD and THC should be avoided with a pending court case or while on probation. THC for obvious reasons, it’s illegal. CBD because if could cause you to fail a drug test.

8. Not figuring out ways to deal with your emotions

Emotions are powerful and drive us. As I mentioned above, trauma from childhood often drives us. Peeling back the layers of your emotions and becoming more self aware will help you deal with the underlying issues that led to your arrest.

It is not easy and often painful but your facing criminal charges so now is the best time to get started. Take the time to love yourself and sit with yourself and see what’s going on.

9. Not having a preliminary hearing

We always recommend having a preliminary hearing. Like most things in law there are exceptions. One such exception is if you can get early access to discovery. In Franklin, we often get access to the video in DUI’s in exchange for waiving the preliminary hearing. Another reason to waive a preliminary hearing is if you can’t afford the bond that’s required when you send your case to circuit court.

10. Not being prepared for court

It is critical you help us help you. We need to know what happened and it is vital you get us all the information and documentation that could help your case. We may not use all of it but we require you provide it to us.

We need things that would be a defense and also things that paint the picture of who you are. You are the hero and we are the guides. Things such as proof of employment, proof of school, medical records, mental health records etc.

We also need you to follow our recommendations. Stay clean, no new charges, alcohol and drug assessments, rehab etc. I have found that the most successful people in life hire others to help them help themselves. Help us help you. Be prepared for court.

11. Letting fear get the best of you

Fear serves a purpose. Unnecessary fear hurts you. Don’t let the fear of jail get the best of you. Talk to a mental health professional. We can recommend some to you if you don’t know where to start. They can listen and advise you.

We always strive to help you and each of our client’s big picture but we are not health care professionals. We are attorneys and their staff fighting for your rights. Realize the steps you need to take such as hiring an attorney, finding a counselor or psychiatrist and take them.

Also be grateful for where you are right now. If you were able to bond out be grateful. Some can’t afford to bond out and are sitting in jail while their case is pending. Get creative and take this time to switch your frame of reference to be grateful.

12. Not being the hero

You are the hero. Hero’s fall on hard times and they find a guide that helps them through the hard time. Think Star Wars Luke Skywalker and Yoda. Or Rocky or any other movie. They all have the hero and the guide.

You are the hero. Heroes do things that are difficult and often they don’t know what to do at the moment. Make the best choices you can and develop a growth mindset. Realize noone is perfect and you can learn from your mistakes and grow. The key is to be careful and not make major mistakes. And if you make a major mistake do not compound it by keep making poor choices that hurt you. You’re the hero, step up and be the hero you can be.

13. After court-not doing what your supposed to

There are 4 main dispositions to your case:

  1. Dismissal;

  2. Retirement;

  3. Diversion; and

  4. Guilty plea.

All of them may require you to do something. Often if the case is dismissed there’s court costs to be paid, not always though. Retirements require no new charges and some kind of class or community service. Diversion has requirements that include probation as do guilty pleas.

Make sure to get the disposition (we get a copy to each of our clients after court) and you comply with all the terms of court and probation. Do exactly what you’re supposed to so you can finish and move forward having learned from the experience and be the hero you are meant to be.

If you have any questions or are ready to be the hero and get legal assistance to guide you or your loved one through the legal system call us at (615) Nash-Law.