Facing criminal charges in South Dakota may seem like an uphill battle, but that does not mean you are helpless in your situation. Just as there are things you can do that would make your case worse, there are also things you can do that would help your case.

Try these three tips for the best chances of avoiding a conviction.

1. Hire an attorney right away

You may be tempted to represent yourself, especially if you are innocent of the charges against you or they are for minor offenses. However, this is a bad idea. You need someone with experience in the law, local courts and legal tactics of the prosecution so you do not end up making mistakes or getting into more trouble. Be honest with your attorney and maintain regular contact. For the best outcome, follow his or her advice on what you should do and say.

2. Keep other communication minimal

Whether you are seeking support or an opportunity to vent, avoid telling everyone you know about your case. Remember that anything you say can serve as evidence not in your favor. Stay off of social media for the time being, as well. Even a post you think is harmless can become ammunition against you in court. 

If you are in jail, remember that phone calls and letters are not private. If you will be going to trial, be careful whom you talk to. Communicating with witnesses, victims and others can harm your case or even be illegal.

3. Follow the rules

Court proceedings are not going to feel pleasant or fair to you, but this is no excuse to let your emotions take control. Always be respectful and follow the rules. Appear to all your court dates and on time. Dress appropriately and have all the paperwork, evidence, fees and other items the court requires you to bring. Do not give the judge the opportunity to give you more charges for misbehavior.