Getting caught with a felony charge can be a life-changing event. It can be extremely stressful, especially when you don’t really understand what you’re being charged for and the possible consequences. What you do next will be very important and could mean the difference between you being free or spending significant time behind bars, maybe even your whole life. Let’s take a look at a few things you must do if you get arrested on a felony charge in North Carolina.
Stay Calm and Silent
The right to stay silent is not a myth. While it is a myth that police officers have to say it when you’re getting arrested, you are under no obligation to speak to the police under any circumstances unless you have a lawyer present. That is a right that is protected by the constitution and the supreme court understands how powerful inculpatory statements can be. And, there are few things that will sway a jury more than the words of an accused. So, make sure that you stay calm and preserve your right until you get to speak with a lawyer. Simply say that you are exercising your 5th amendment rights – there is no need to taunt, be loud and violent, or say anything else.
Hire a Lawyer
The next thing you need to do is make sure that you hire a lawyer, and one that understands North Carolina laws and courts in and out. Teams like campolidefense.com are a perfect example. They will be able to guide you on the things you need to do next. Hiring a lawyer earlier could make a big difference in how much time it takes, what kind of things you’ll be charged for, or your chances of being acquitted.
Know that the police and prosecution will be working actively against you from the moment you’re arrested. From this time, they will do everything they can to get you to confess, even if you know you didn’t do it. They know all the tricks and can get you to sign a bad deal that will get you in trouble. Some may trick you into thinking that everything will be alright and that you’ll be able to go home, but you could end up not only incriminating yourself, but making any appeal decisions tougher or impossible in the future.
Understand the Charges
It’s also very important that you know what kind of charges you’re facing. A lot of people still don’t understand the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge. Some may think that they’re in more trouble than they actually are or don’t truly understand the severity of the case. For instance, shoplifting in North Carolina is a misdemeanor if the value of the items is under $1000 and a felony if it’s above. Misdemeanors sometimes won’t lead to jail time, while you’re almost certain to go to prison for a felony, and maybe even have to compensate victims, so make sure that you know what you’re dealing with. There are also more serious life repercussions to having a felony on your record that you need to be aware of.
These are all things you will have to do the minute you get a felony charge. The most important part is speaking with a lawyer immediately who will be able to protect your rights and guide you through the process.