Nobody expects to be charged with a crime, especially if they have lived all their life within the boundaries of the law, respecting their rights and those of the people around them. So it may come as a shock when a person, who is presumably law-abiding, is indeed charged with a criminal offense. The first reaction is often panic.
What to do if you’re charged
The first thing you have to do is to calm down. Panic can take over and affect the way you make decisions. This is serious, and the more serious the charge is, the calmer you should be.
Retain a Houston criminal defense attorney immediately. Don’t waste time worrying and thinking about whether you need a lawyer or not. It’s a bad idea to try to defend yourself in a situation like this. You need someone who has a deeper understanding of the law and how to defend your rights in court, David A. Nachtigall notes. You need someone with the experience, education, and expertise.
Even if you are arrested by the police, do not tell them anything except to let you discuss this with your lawyer. Contrary to what the movies have shown you, insisting on talking to your lawyer does not in any way indicate that you are guilty. It is your right to defend yourself properly and to do that, you have to retain an attorney.
How a conviction can affect your life
There are many possible negative effects that a conviction may have on your life; all the more reason not to second-guess your need for a lawyer. You could be facing jail or prison time. Your relationship with your family will definitely suffer. Divorce is a lot more common with convicted felons. Your income will take a blow, as well. Even if you get out of jail and start looking for work, employers are not too happy to see a criminal record among their applicants. It’s just the bitter truth, whatever the circumstances behind your conviction.
It is your right and responsibility to do everything you can within the bounds of the law to stay a free person. A lawyer is critical in getting the best chance to do that. If a charge has been filed against you, retain a lawyer immediately.