No one plans to be charged with a violent crime. But situations can arise, emotions run high, tempers flare and people can act out of character. A dispute can result in violence, and the line between aggressive behavior and self-defense can be blurred.

In other instances, mistaken identity can lead to charges that later may prove false. Or an accidental act may result in charges far more serious than justified.

Regardless, being arrested and charged with a violent crime is a traumatic, stressful experience. Given the stress, pressure and unfamiliarity of such a situation, it’s easy to make mistakes that can later lead to unjust or unnecessarily harsh punishment.

For those arrested and charged with a violent crime, focusing on three important points can make the difference between a normal life and one destroyed by the criminal justice system, freedom or incarceration and even life and death.

1) Find An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately

Given the stress and pressure inherent with being arrested and interrogated by police, it’s not unusual for those facing an accusation of being involved in an assault or murder to make a mistake and possibly erroneously implicate themselves.

Remember, police are well-trained, highly experienced experts in interviewing suspects. They can easily take advantage of an extremely stressed or distraught suspect in their efforts to make a case.

It is absolutely crucial to politely decline to answer any questions from the police without the counsel of an attorney. A criminal defense attorney will have a clear, calm view of the situation – something that is necessary in the face of a police interrogation.

Having an attorney present during questioning may well prevent a suspect from implicating him or herself in the crime or from being tripped up by the police. Clear heads prevail in this situation, and it’s critical to recognize a criminal defense attorney will provide exactly that.

2) There Are Shades Of Gray

Nearly every law addressing violent crime recognizes mitigating factors, such as lack of intent or emotional overreactions to situations.

Statutes addressing murder, assault and other violent crimes include varying levels or degrees. Murder, for example, can range from manslaughter involving a careless or imprudent act leading to the death of a person all the way up to first-degree murder, which involves premeditation before an act causing the death of a person.

It is important to remember that an experienced criminal defense attorney can take the steps necessary to prevent a client from erroneously implicating him or herself in such a way as to be charged with – and perhaps convicted of – a more serious degree of that crime.

Working with an effective criminal defense attorney from the start is the key to getting charges reduced to the greatest extent possible.

3) Effective Criminal Defense Requires Teamwork

Information technology professionals frequently use the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” to explain how even the best systems are only as good as the information they collected and process.

The same concept holds true in situations involving violent crimes and the relationship between the accused and his or her attorney.

Providing a criminal defense attorney with all information as accurately as possible that he or she requests is of the utmost importance. Even the best criminal defense attorney’s work can be compromised if he or she is working with incorrect or incomplete information.

If an attorney asks for information, it’s relevant and vital to the defense of the accused. Period. Be honest with your attorney no matter what.

Don’t Face Criminal Charges Alone. Marler Law Partners Can Help.

Facing charges involving violent crime is a serious, often life-changing situation. Securing the counsel of a criminal defense attorney is an absolute must.

Marler Law Partners offer clients charged with violent offenses of every kind extensive experience: We have criminal defense attorneys who have also served as prosecutors, so we know the exact strategies the state will try and use against you.

Having experience on the prosecution side means Marler Law Partners has a first-hand, deep understanding of how prosecutors build and develop a case, and what tactics they may likely use in court.

The attorneys of Marler Law Partners also have significant experience in venues throughout southeastern Missouri and the greater metropolitan St. Louis area.

If you’ve been accused of a violent crime, don’t wait; contact Marler Law Partners today for a complimentary evaluation of your case.