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8 Critical Errors to Avoid Whe...


8 Critical Errors to Avoid When Dealing with a Criminal Charge in Singapore

8 Critical Errors to Avoid When Dealing with a Criminal Charge in Singapore
The Silicon Review
06 June, 2024

If you're facing criminal charges in Singapore, you have the option to either hire a lawyer to represent you or handle your defence on your own. Most people, however, will want to hire a lawyer when they’re charged with a crime, desiring to get representation by an expert in criminal law in Singapore. It’s true that, once you engage a criminal defence law firm, it is duty-bound to provide you with diligent representation throughout all legal proceedings. However, despite the expertise and commitment of your legal team, there are limits to the kind of protection that they can provide you. You also need to do your part to secure a positive outcome for your case. If you find yourself facing a criminal charge, do anything you can to avoid these serious errors.

  1. Being Late for Court Appointments

When your freedom and reputation are on the line, punctuality becomes more than a simple matter of respect. Being on time for court appearances is especially important, as a judge can very well decide that your tardiness counts as contempt of court, giving you something else to worry about.

  1. Talking Your Team’s Ears Off

Your legal team is there to help, but they’re not there to provide therapy. They do need a complete overview of everything pertinent to your case, but it won’t do any good to overwhelm them with information. Whenever you have meetings with your team, try to stick to an agenda that solely focuses on legal strategies, case updates, or specific and actionable advice. If you feel the need to vent because of the stress related to your case, your team may be able to refer you to a therapist who’s sensitive to your legal concerns.

  1. Not Taking Care of Your Own Documents

All relevant documents related to your case must be kept well organized and easily accessible to your legal team. Being thoughtful about your documentation saves your lawyers from having to sift through your paperwork and gives them more time to consider other aspects of your legal defence.

  1. Communicating with Counter-Parties without Running Things by Your Team

Once a case has been filed, you need to trust your legal representatives to do their job of liaising with the other side. Your lawyers are probably going to advise you to refrain from communicating details of your case with all counter-parties and all outside parties to avoid compromising your case. If a counter-party does reach out to you directly, never send them a reply without talking to your lawyers first.

  1. Talking to Journalists Outside of a Controlled Setting

Being accused of a crime is serious business, and you may feel an overwhelming urge to let the world know your side of the story. Unfortunately, even the most empathetic-seeming journalists are just doing their job, which is often less about the truth and more about selling ad space on their publications. Uttering one wrong word in public can irretrievably damage your case or destroy your reputation.

There are some instances where talking to journalists makes sense, but you probably aren’t the best person to make that call. Your legal team, on the other hand, should be able to identify instances where going to the press is the right move. With their help, you’ll be able to make a public appeal without jeopardizing your defence.

  1. Not Disclosing the Whole Truth to Your Lawyers

It’s not unusual for defendants to withhold information that they think is embarrassing or damaging to other people they care about. However, keeping quiet will only complicate your legal team’s job. Worse, it may spoil your defence once the truth inevitably comes out. 

As tempting as silence is, you must remember that your communications with your lawyers are protected by solicitor-client privilege. Putting faith in this mechanism may help you get past your hang-ups and enable your team to build a truly robust legal defence.

  1. Staying On Social Media 

Any law firm worth their salt will advise their clients to deactivate their social media accounts as soon as possible. Other parties are undoubtedly going to be monitoring your social media posts to gather information that could be used against you. Worse, many are prepared to take your posts entirely out of context if it suits their needs. If you need to maintain a social media account as part of your livelihood, ask your legal team to provide guidelines that will prevent the weaponisation of your posts.

  1. Showing Contempt of Court

Lastly, you must hold court orders and procedures sacred, regardless of how you feel about them. Even small expressions of defiance or noncompliance can be interpreted as contempt by a judge, resulting in penalties or even a loss of liberty. Do what you must and have your team advise you on how to act when in court.

Avoid Common Pitfalls with the Right Legal Team

These slip-ups are exceedingly common because of the intricate and unintuitive nature of legal proceedings. With a good legal team by your side, you’ll be prepared to avoid these pitfalls and, hopefully, produce positive outcomes for your case.