Lyons Snyder & Collin. Trial Attorneys.


Five Common Mistakes When Dealing with a Criminal Offense

By Philip M. Snyder

In the event you come into contact with law enforcement during an investigation into criminal charges or an arrest, please remember the following tips to reduce or eliminate your exposure.

  1. Be careful not to speak with law enforcement without an experienced criminal defense attorney.   The criminal defense attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin have witnessed countless number of individuals who have mistakenly refused to heed this advice to the detriment of their case.  When you speak to law enforcement without an experience criminal defense attorney, you are potentially eliminating possible defenses to your case.    The police will ask you questions with the intention of eliciting incriminating responses.   Be smart; politely request that you wish to speak with a criminal defense lawyer before answering any questions.
  2. Think twice before providing consent to search your vehicle or person if you are in possession of illegal narcotics or paraphernalia.   During a routine traffic stop (i.e. speeding) law enforcement may request verbal or written consent to search your vehicle or person.    You do not have to provide such consent.   In the event you are later arrested for possession of illegal narcotics, you have possibly saved an experienced criminal defense attorney an avenue to suppress any evidence seized as a result of an unlawful search and seizure.
  3. If you have the funds to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, do so immediately.   The first few days after an arrest are oftentimes the most valuable source of exculpatory evidence (i.e. defense witnesses, video recordings, bruising and scratches, etc.)   Do not let this evidence expire or disappear before speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
  4. Do not retain an attorney who does not focus his/her practice on criminal defense.   Criminal defense is a specialized segment of the law.  You would not consult with a chiropractor if you required open heart surgery; Criminal defense is no different.   When consulting with a criminal defense lawyer, review his/her credentials (i.e. former Assistant State Attorney) and their experience handling the particular crime at hand.
  5. In no circumstance should you ever plea to a criminal offense without speaking to an experienced criminal defense attorney.   This includes traffic criminal offenses (i.e. driving while license suspended) and misdemeanors.   Always inquire whether the criminal offense carries any future unknown repercussions before appearing in Court unrepresented.