Dallas criminal defense lawyer John Helms explains why speaking to the media is never in a defendant’s best interest, especially when facing murder or homicide charges in Texas.
I was recently retained in a homicide case. After meeting with the family, I immediately went to the jail to visit the accused young man. When I got there, a reporter and a cameraman were already there and were about to start interviewing him. I had to ask them politely to leave, but if I had not gotten there soon enough, who knows what he would have told them?
In the Dallas and Fort Worth area, homicides get a lot of media attention. Reporters are very aggressive when it comes to trying to interview people who are charged with a homicide.
In this age of social media, in which people are used to communicating with anyone in the world who wants to listen to them, many people may think it is a good idea to “get their story out.” So, should someone who is accused of a crime speak to the media about it?
The answer is, “absolutely not.” If you are accused of murder or any other type of homicide, the ONLY thing you should be considering is making sure you can get the best possible result in your case. “Getting your story out,” will do you absolutely no good if you end up going to prison for the rest of your life.
So, why is it a bad idea to speak to the media? The answer is that it will not help you and can only hurt you. The reporter might seem sympathetic to you, but make no mistake: The reporter is not there to help you. The reporter wants to get a story that will interest readers or viewers. That might involve making you look guilty or like a liar. When it comes to protecting YOUR legal interests, the ONLY person you can trust is your defense lawyer.
But how could you hurt your case by talking to the media? The answer is that anything you say to the media can be used against you in court. You can easily say something that could make you look bad or undercut a potential defense without even knowing it. More importantly, ANY explanation by you limits your options in your case. Since the State must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and since you cannot be forced to testify, the best defense in many criminal cases is that the State simply has not proven their case. That is because the State usually has to disprove all reasonable possibilities for how you could be not guilty. But if you take a position about what happened when you talk to the media, you limit what the State has to disprove. All they have to do is take shots at your explanation. This also limits what your lawyer can do to protect you.
If you or a loved one is facing murder charges, or other homicide charges in Dallas or Fort Worth, you need an experienced and skilled Dallas criminal defense lawyer to handle your case and the media. For someone facing these charges, choosing the right lawyer may be the most important decision they ever make. Do not put yourself or your loved one in the hands of someone who is cheaper, but less effective at getting the best possible result for you.
Contact Attorney John Helms in Dallas to review your case and discuss your legal options.
Dallas Defense Attorney John Helms