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What NOT to Do When Charged with Police Misconduct in New Jersey

July 17, 2023 | Posted In Administrative Law, Criminal Law |

Facing allegations of police misconduct in New Jersey is a very serious matter. Not only could your career as a law enforcement officer be in jeopardy, but depending on the allegations against you, you could be at risk for criminal prosecution as well. Prosecutors in New Jersey will aggressively pursue assault, bribery, theft, manslaughter and other criminal charges against police officers, and, to protect yourself to the fullest extent possible, you need an experienced New Jersey police misconduct lawyer on your side.

When you hire a New Jersey police misconduct lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will explain everything you need to know. Your lawyer will explain the steps you need to take and—crucially—the mistakes you need to avoid. When facing allegations of police misconduct, mistakes can be extremely costly, and knowing what not to do is essential to presenting an effective defense. Here are some examples of the types of advice your lawyer will provide:

Do NOT Assume Your Problems Will Go Away

As much as you might want them to, your problems will not simply go away. If you are facing allegations of police misconduct, you must take action to protect yourself. If you don’t, the allegations may lead to charges, and once you get charged, you will need to fight by all means available to avoid a conviction.

When facing police misconduct allegations, the sooner you take action, the better. Depending on the circumstances at hand, a New Jersey police misconduct lawyer may be able to help you resolve your case quietly and without formal charges being filed. But, the longer you wait to seek help, the more difficult it will become to assert a successful defense.

Do NOT Admit Anything

At this stage, you should not admit anything. While it may ultimately be in your best interests to cooperate or consider a plea bargain, these are steps that you should only take if advised by your defense lawyer. As you well know, anything you say can be used against you, and you do not want to say anything that you might regret later on.

The best way to avoid admitting something that could land you in jail is to remain silent. Do not answer any questions, and do not volunteer any information. If it makes sense to admit anything eventually, your defense lawyer will tell you exactly what to say or speak on your behalf.

Do NOT Make Any Assumptions About the Charges Against You

It is also very important that you not make any assumptions about the charges against you. Even if you think you know why you are under investigation, you should not assume that prosecutors know what you know. If you make assumptions about the government’s case against you, not only could you fail to assert an effective defense, but you could also end up admitting facts that you think are irrelevant—but that are in fact critical for the government’s burden of proof.

Do NOT Interfere in the Department’s Investigation

While it is important to intervene in the government’s case against you, you should not interfere in the department’s investigation. Attempting to conceal or destroy evidence, attempting to mislead investigators, and trying to prevent investigators from executing search warrants and subpoenas can all make your situation much worse.

They also aren’t necessary. When you hire a New Jersey police misconduct lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will evaluate all potential defenses and develop a cohesive defense strategy designed to protect you to the fullest extent possible in light of the facts at hand.

Do NOT Post on Social Media

Any time you are under investigation or facing charges, it is best to stay off of social media. While it is best not to post anything at all, you definitely shouldn’t post anything that is related to the department’s investigation or the police misconduct charges you are facing. Resist the temptation to lash out or make accusations of your own, and protect yourself by keeping the facts between you and your defense lawyer.

In this same vein, you should also avoid discussing your case with your coworkers, friends, neighbors and family. You do not want to share any information with anyone that prosecutors could potentially discover and use against you.

Do NOT Enter a Guilty Plea

Regardless of the facts at hand, you should not enter a guilty plea at your arraignment. You have defenses available (at a minimum, your defense lawyer can argue that the evidence doesn’t establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt), and entering a guilty plea eliminates any leverage you may have. Pleading not guilty preserves your legal rights, and it gives you and your defense lawyer the opportunity to fight your charges by all means available.

Do NOT Try to Handle Your Situation on Your Own

Finally, whether you think you are guilty or you know you are innocent, you should not try to handle your situation on your own. If you are facing criminal charges, you are facing fines and jail time in New Jersey, and a conviction will negatively impact all aspects of your life.

From exposing issues with the department’s investigation to representing you in court, an experienced New Jersey police misconduct lawyer will be able to help with all aspects of your case. You owe it to yourself to seek help, and hiring an experienced defense lawyer can cost you far less than the lifetime consequences of a police misconduct conviction. To find out what defenses you can use to fight your police misconduct allegations, contact an experienced New Jersey police misconduct lawyer today.

Speak with a New Jersey Police Misconduct Lawyer in Confidence

If you are facing police misconduct allegations in New Jersey, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To discuss your case with an experienced New Jersey police misconduct lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. in confidence as soon as possible, call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

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