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What to Do When Charged With a Crime: Your Comprehensive Guide

Being charged with a crime can be an overwhelming and frightening experience, but knowing how to respond can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to take if you find yourself facing criminal charges.

1. Remain Calm and Exercise Your Rights

The first and most important thing to do when charged with a crime is to remain calm and composed. Remember that you have certain rights under the law, including:

  • The right to remain silent: You are not obligated to speak to law enforcement officers or answer any questions without an attorney present.
  • The right to legal representation: You have the right to consult with an attorney and have them represent you throughout the legal process.

Exercise these rights and refrain from making any statements or admissions to law enforcement until you have spoken with an attorney.

2. Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

As soon as possible after being charged with a crime, it's crucial to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can provide you with invaluable legal advice, protect your rights, and develop a strong defense strategy on your behalf.

When choosing an attorney, look for someone with experience handling cases similar to yours and who you feel comfortable working with. Many attorneys offer free or low-cost initial consultations, so take advantage of this opportunity to discuss your case and evaluate your options.

3. Understand the Charges Against You

Take the time to thoroughly understand the charges against you and the potential consequences you face if convicted. Your attorney can help explain the charges and advise you on the best course of action moving forward.

It's essential to understand that being charged with a crime does not necessarily mean you will be found guilty. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

4. Follow Your Attorney's Advice

Once you've retained a criminal defense attorney, it's crucial to follow their advice and guidance throughout the legal process. Your attorney will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Be honest and transparent with your attorney about all aspects of your case, including any potential weaknesses or challenges. Trust in their expertise and experience to navigate the complexities of the legal system on your behalf.

5. Attend All Court Proceedings

It's essential to attend all court proceedings related to your case, including arraignment, pretrial hearings, and trial dates. Failing to appear in court can result in additional legal consequences, including the issuance of a warrant for your arrest.

Be punctual and respectful during court proceedings, and follow any instructions or directives given by the judge or court officials. Your attorney will accompany you to court and advocate for your interests throughout the process.

6. Consider Your Options

Throughout the legal process, you may have the opportunity to explore various options for resolving your case, including plea bargains, diversion programs, or going to trial. Your attorney can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of each option and advise you on the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.

7. Take Care of Yourself

Facing criminal charges can be emotionally and mentally taxing, so it's essential to prioritize self-care throughout the process. Lean on your support network of friends and family for emotional support, and consider seeking professional counseling or therapy if needed.

Maintain healthy habits, such as eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep, to help manage stress and maintain your overall well-being during this challenging time.


Being charged with a crime is a serious matter that requires careful attention and proactive steps to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. By remaining calm, seeking legal representation, understanding the charges against you, and following your attorney's advice, you can navigate the legal process with confidence and work towards resolving your case effectively. Remember, you are not alone – a skilled criminal defense attorney can provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate this challenging time.

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The Johnson Law Group handled a very important and delicate matter with professionalism and a caring manner. Attorneys were knowledgeable, in communications, and provided a top notch service to my need. I highly recommend the Johnson Law Group for your important legal issues. Hardy Jr.
Lauren Johnson-Norris was amazing. She explained everything in ways that were easily understood, & answered all of my question. She was respectful, but also open & honest. She started work on my case the first day we met & got results quickly. She demonstrated passion, concern, and showed true feeling for my situation. My expectations were greatly exceeded. I would say she has an incredible attention for detail, & has a real dedication to her work. Lauren Johnson-Norris would be my first recommendation to any of my family or friends similarly in need of legal assistance. Heather
I researched a lot of attorneys and had met with two attorneys before speaking with Ms. Johnson-Norris and retaining her. I was facing serious charges that could not be on my record, due to my job and was really scared. I felt hopeless & thought my life was ruined...until I found Ms. Johnson-Norris… A criminal defense client (drug case)
She is on point. She knows her field well. I have to give credit where credit is due, you deserve it Lauren Johnson-Norris… Anonymous, Victim of Domestic Violence
Lauren Johnson-Norris was my saving grace. I naively thought you were innocent until proven guilty. However, I soon discovered that CPS and family court does not see things that way… Mrs. G, a CPS client