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Advice from Brian on how to protect your rights!

Q: Do I have to consent to the police requests?

A: In any police encounter, it is important to respect the authority of law enforcement, but it is equally important to protect your constitutional rights. If a law-enforcement officer asks you to provide information or perform an action you should always clarify whether the officer is giving a command or making a request.

Police officers are trained to get citizens to relinquish their rights by disguising requests in words that sound like orders. By doing this they are trying to obtain evidence that can and will be used against you. When dealing with the police it is perfectly appropriate to ask politely if the officer is asking you or ordering you to do something. If you are being asked, not ordered, To provide a statement or perform an action, you should respectfully decline and ask to leave, so that you can discuss the situation with your attorney.

Q: Should I comply with police?

A: It is illegal in virtually all Jurisdictions to disobey police commands, even if the police are illegally detaining or arresting you. This rule exists to discourage citizens from engaging in physical confrontations with police officers who carry firearms or deadly weapons. If a police officer commands you to perform an action or moves to place you under arrest, it is important that you comply with those orders. Never argue with or confront the police on the street. As soon as you are able contact your Criminal Defense Attorney to make appropriate legal action against offending officers.

Q: Do the police need consent to support a search?

A: Whether the police ask you to search your home, your vehicle or your person, do not consent. The fourth amendment of the US Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires that police obtain a warrant before conducting a search. Overtime, numerous exceptions to the warrant rule have been approved. Consent is the ultimate warrant exception. If the police have no other legal grounds to conduct a search, they will ask for permission.

To put it another way, if the police ask for your permission to search, it means they probably have no other legal basis to support the search. Just say no! Be polite, but firm, and tell the officer that you do not consent to a search.

Q: Can I prove my innocence to the police?

A: If a police officer is serving an arrest warrant on you, it does not matter if the officer thinks you are innocent or guilty; The warrant gives him cause to arrest you. If the officer initiates the rest without a warrant he obviously thinks you are guilty or he would not be arresting you. When you are trying to argue your side of the keys to the arresting officer, at best you are wasting your breath. At worst, you are making incriminating statements that will cause problems for you later. What you say to the arresting officer can be held against you in court. The best course of action is to remain silent.

Q: Why am I getting investigated?

A: Police officers are trained to do one thing when investigating a crime: obtain evidence for use in a criminal prosecution. If the police asked to interview you or search your property in relation to an ongoing investigation, they are almost certainly attempting to obtain statements and evidence that can be used to justify your arrest and possible conviction. Law enforcement officers may try to say that they are just trying to understand what happened, but their true goal is to gain facts from you to use against you. Never speak to investigators without your attorney present.

Q: Do the police need to advise me of my rights before arresting me?

A: this is one of the most common misconceptions in criminal law today, that the police are required to advise you of your rights at the time of your arrest. The truth, however, is that the police are only required to advise you of your rights if they plan to interrogate you while you are in custody. Therefore, if the police approach you on the street and question you, then later place you under arrest, the answers you gave prior to being arrested may be admissible in court. Another misconception is that if the police do not advise a suspect of his or her rights immediately, then all charges will be dropped. Again, this is not the case. The remedy for a failure to advise a suspect of his or her rights prior to a custodial interrogation is to exclude the suspect statements from the trial, not to dismiss the charges.

Q: Do I stay silent even when I have the right to remain silent? A: You have the right to remain silent in the face of questioning by law-enforcement. You may not know, however, that you have to Assert your right to remain silent. So speak up to remain silent.

A: You have the right to remain silent in the face of questioning by law-enforcement. You may not know, however, that you have to Assert your right to remain silent. So speak up to remain silent.

If you are questioned by the police, do the following:

  • Tell the officers you do not want to talk to them.
  • Ask if you are free to leave.
    • If they answer yes then leave immediately and call an attorney as soon as possible.
    • If they answer no then repeat your choice to remain silent and that you request an attorney.
  • Be quiet! Say nothing until you have consulted with a criminal defense attorney.

Many people are overconfident and think they can explain what occurred when questioned by the police. This never works! If the officer thinks he has enough evidence, you are going to be arrested regardless of whether you answer his questions or not.

Q: Do I turn myself in if I have a warrant?

A: you gain nothing by waiting for the police to come and take you on the warrant. When you turn yourself in, you establish a level of credibility and make a strong argument for a low bail. If, on the other hand, you try to avoid the warrant and wait for the police to come and get you, they will find you and they may also find evidence of criminal activity not related to the warrant.

If a warrant has been issued for your arrest, take the following steps:

  • consult with an attorney. The attorney can call the police and arrange for you to turn yourself in and except service of the warrant.
  • line up the funds you will need for bail.
  • Make sure you have nothing on you (i.e. drugs, drug paraphernalia, or weapons) when you do turn yourself in, as this will only create additional problems.
Q: Do I have the right to make a phone call from jail?

A: Criminal defendants often will complain that the police did not honor their right to make a phone call. You do not have a constitutional right to make a phone call immediately after arrest. State laws or administrative rules might require the police, a jail or a holding facility to allow in arrestee to make a call.

Q: What should I say when making my phone call from jail?

A: whatever you say when you make a phone call from jail just remember that it is always recorded, and the prosecutor will more than likely obtain a copy of all your phone calls. However, during your initial phone call, do not discuss the circumstances leading up to and or surrounding your arrest. Do not try to explain your innocence or how you ended up in jail. Simply state the charges against you and where you are. Ask for help in finding a criminal defense attorney. Provide the information of where you are to The other party on the line as well.

Q: When being interrogated do I then make a deal or argue my case?

A: There is no value in arguing your keys with an arresting officer during a police in counter. The same holds true post arrest. After you are arrested, the police may spend some time questioning you. The point of this interrogation is to gather information for the prosecutor to use against you, and maybe even get you to confess. The interrogating officer might offer to drop certain charges or promise to go easy on you or get you a better deal if you just tell them what they want to hear. Don’t believe it. If the police had sufficient evidence against you to go forward with the case and obtain a conviction, they wouldn’t be offering you a deal.

Also the police officer sitting across from you and interrogation room has no real power to cut you any type of deal or drop any of the charges. However the police can make recommendations, the prosecutor is the one that determines whether the government will offer you a plea bargain and what the terms of that bargain will be. So, when a police officer or promises That he will get you a particular deal, you cannot rely on that promise. More importantly do not make a deal sign a confession prior to speaking with an attorney.

Q: If I talk about my case will that hurt my case?

A: The most common mistake made by criminal defendants is talking about their case the key to avoiding this mistake is simple in theory, but in reality is often easier said than done. Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your Criminal Defense Attorney.

If you are being held in custody, Cellmates really be willing to work with the police and turn over evidence about you to get a better deal for themselves. Conversations on jail telephones are monitored and recorded at all times. So if you say something over the jail telephone, assume that the district attorney will hear about it. Plus, jail staff typically read incoming and outgoing inmate mail.

If you are out on bail, your family members and friends I want to know what happened, and you surely will be tempted to explain why you are not guilty. Resist that temptation. Do you have seemingly harmless statements to trusted friends and family members can be used against you in ways you do not expect. Just state that you were Attorney does not want you to talk about the specifics about your case with anyone. This means that you must resist any social media posts about your case.

It doesn’t matter how unfairly you’ve been treated or how well or poorly your case is going, just keep it to yourself. If you post anything about your case on social media, you may inform the prosecution of something about your case that they may not have previously known, or you may accidentally reveal a violation of your Bail or release conditions.

Q: What if the accuser is on my side, will the charges be dropped?

A: many people believe that they cannot be prosecuted unless the alleged victim or accuser chooses to “press charges“. This is not true! The prosecution makes the decision as to whether or not alleged criminal acts will be prosecuted. Similarly, alleged victims cannot “drop” the charges. Often times, the prosecutor will listen to the wishes of the alleged victims and their families, but the decision to abandon or move forward with a case lies with the government. Sometimes, prosecution offices have strict “no drop” policies especially regarding specific alleged crimes.

Q: What if I didn’t know that what I did was illegal?

A: Not knowing the law or an action is illegal is not a defense for the charges made against you. The police, prosecutor, or judge don’t care what you know or don’t know about the law. It is understood that all people with a jurisdiction are aware of all laws for that jurisdiction. If you claim ignorance regarding a provision of the law which you are now charged with violating will not allow you to escape criminal liability.

Q: I am innocent, will the case be dismissed?

A: criminal defendants will often request that their case be dismissed because they are innocent of the charges against them. However, a pretrial motion to dismiss which is a formal request to the court to dismiss the charges must be based on one of the very few, narrowly defined, technical reasons for dismissal. A claim of innocence is not a valid reason for a dismissal motion. If you did not do what you were accused of doing then you must plead “not guilty” to the charges, then request a trial.

Q: I have a good character, can that be used in my case?

A: character witnesses may be extremely helpful and a bail hearing or in a sentencing hearing, however, They are in most cases not allowed in criminal trials. Other than a few limited exceptions, character witnesses are generally in admissible in court. Issue at a criminal trial is limited to whether you did a specific action in which you were accused of doing. Evidence that you are a “good person,” or that you were accuser is a “bad person” generally is a relevant.

Q: Can I talk to the judge directly?

A: Speaking with the judge about the facts of your case or writing a letter to the judge is not only frowned upon but also not allowed. You are strictly for bidden to communicate with the judge about a pending case off the record or outside of court. The judge will disregard any letters sent to him or her made by you or your family professing your innocence. in court you could damage your case by not keeping concise and clear communication about your case. In the end let your criminal defense lawyer be your voice in communicating with the judge.

Q: If I take a plea will I have to go to jail?

A: Most criminal cases are resolved through plea deals, and it is likely that, if you are arrested, you’ll be offered a plea deal. Chances are that your best interest will be served by taking this deal. If you take a deal be sure that you understand what you were agreeing to and what you will be required to do. A plea deal is not a get out of jail free card. Majority of the time, plea deals come with stiff financial requirements. Also you may be subject to a curfew and travel restrictions. Sometimes, drug testing may be part of the plea deal. If you think you will have trouble complying with the terms of the agreement, it may be best for you to reject the deal and go to trial. Probation violations are easier to prosecute than the crime that was originally charged and the punishment could be more harsh.

Q: At trial what if I prove my innocence, will the jury will decide I’m not guilty?

A: The jurors in a criminal trial or not obligated to collectively piece the evidence together until they arrive at “the truth” or “solve” the case. The jurors only job is to determine whether the government, as represented by it’s prosecuting attorney, has met its burden of proving you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You do not have to prove your innocence; the prosecution must prove your guilt. Which means after hearing all evidence the jurors must be truly and steadfastly convinced that you were guilty of the crime charged. This is normally a very heavy burden.