What Should a Criminal Defendant Say to Friends and Family Members?
If you’re facing criminal charges, things are going to be tough for a while. What should you say to friends and family members? What will they think? Sure, being straight forward and honest is always the best policy, but that won’t make the ordeal any easier.
As the defendant in a criminal case, you have to deal with reality. It may seem like your world is caving in, but the time has come to initiate a few difficult conversations. There will be friends, associates and family members that shy away from you and your legal troubles. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have written you off forever. Many people find it hard to talk about other people’s trials and tribulations. Don’t be afraid to speak openly about your legal problems and ask for the support of your friends and family members.
You may have already learned that you have a new best friend, namely your defense attorney. Depending on your financial situation, your family and closest friends may have already helped you make bail or choose the right lawyer. Your attorney will provide valuable advice concerning what types of information to share with friends and family.
Taking the initiative to discuss a difficult topic requires courage and humility. You’ll need the support and encouragement of your friends and family, so get busy and follow these suggestions for starting difficult conversations:
- Try to Be Positive – Tell your friends and family members how important they are to you. Ask for their support as you face the legal process. Let them know that you intend to get through this difficult stage of your life.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Feelings – Most people will respond positively to your willingness to be vulnerable. There will always be individuals that simply lack the capacity to express how they feel about your legal issues. This doesn’t mean that they’re not on your side.
- Think about What You Intend to Say before Taking the Initiative – The thought of speaking with your grandparents may scare you to death, for example. What will you say to your employer? Bad news has a way of getting around, you know. Focus on what you have to say and avoid anything that is likely to spark controversy or put the other person on the defensive.
- Don’t Just Go on and on – Invite your friend, family member or associate to participate in the conversation. Ask them what they think about your situation and whether they have any advice. Let them know that you value their opinions and then listen carefully without interrupting what they have to say.
- Thank Your Friend or Family Member for Listening and Sharing – Bring the conversation to a close by expressing your gratitude for their support and encouragement.