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Do you know your rights if you’re charged with a crime?

Being charged with a crime can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. Your mind is likely juggling many questions.

What should I do? What are my rights? How can I protect myself? The following information can guide your next steps after being charged with a crime in Alaska.

Understand the charge

Before you can mount a proper defense, you must understand the charge against you. What are you accused of, and what are the possible penalties if convicted? Knowing specific details about your case can help you make wise decisions. Remember, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Understand your constitutional rights

Your rights are your armor. Familiarize yourself with your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures to see if the police may have violated that right during your arrest. Exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and your right to have representation present during questioning.

Knowledge is power. The more you know about your rights, the better you can assert them effectively.

Determine how to address the charge

In addition to knowing whether your rights were violated during the arrest, you’ll need to determine how you’re going to deal with the charge against you.

If you’re innocent, you’ll want to present a strong defense. If you have some culpability, you may be able to arrive at a plea deal with prosecutors that can lessen the charge and/or penalties.

You should never try to do this on your own. Having experienced legal guidance can help ensure that you know all of your options and that you choose the best strategy for your unique situation.