The phrase that someone “turned himself in for the crime” is one that is commonly heard in local TV news and movies, but doesn’t always have a specific meaning. At the very least, it refers to a person presenting himself to the police or other authorities for arrest and/or to say he committed a crime. There can be good reasons for doing this, and some decidedly very bad reasons for doing which can bring disastrous consequences.
You should always speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your jurisdiction before taking any action to present yourself and/or evidence of a crime that you may have committed to law enforcement authorities.
Are the Police Even Looking For You?
The first question to ask is whether the police are aware that a crime was committed, and whether they are specifically looking for you in connection with that crime. If not, then turning yourself in for that crime can invite criminal charges and jail time, and you should not expect police or prosecutors to go easy you on because you voluntarily showed up out of the blue to be arrested and/or to profess your guilt.
There is, of course, a virtue in owning up to what you may have done, especially when a victim was involved – and some people feel motivated by religious convictions or membership in groups espousing personal responsibility to turn themselves in for crimes – but there may be other ways to make things right, including making amends to a victim, without exposing yourself to criminal liability that affects you and your family’s reputation and future for years to come.
Discuss Your Circumstances With an Attorney
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you assess a number of matters that should be critical in deciding whether to turn yourself in. First, an attorney can help you get a sense of whether the police suspect you for a crime and/or whether a warrant is out for your arrest.
Second, an attorney can help you determine whether it is even necessary to make the police aware of your presence, as there are certainly circumstances in which the police may be aware you committed a crime, but may choose not to be pursuing your arrest, such as not having enough evidence against you or a prosecutor simply having no interest in pursuing criminal charges against you.
If you and your attorney do decide turning yourself in for a crime is the best course of action, your attorney can provide guidance on how this best should be done. For example, your attorney may be able to negotiate the action in order to receive credit for cooperation. He or she can also determine the best way for you to avoid excessive booking and jail time while charges are brought.
Experienced Criminal Defense in Your Oklahoma Criminal Matter
Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney Patrick Quillian is a former Oklahoma district attorney who relies on his years of experience in prosecuting cases to provide the best possible defense for all defendants. If you are facing criminal charges and/or investigation for a felony or misdemeanor in Oklahoma, contact the office of J. Patrick Quillian, Attorney at Law, today at 405.294.4448 to schedule a free consultation to see what his criminal defense team can do for you.