Criminal Defense FAQs
Q. Do I have any rights if the police want to arrest me?
A. You have your Miranda Rights which the police are required to inform you of. Namely, you have the right not to incriminate yourself – which means you have the right to act in your own best interest by remaining silent. Additionally you have the right not to be burdened by unreasonable search and seizure. Defining what constitutes “unreasonable” depends upon the circumstances and venue of your arrest. And you have the right to an attorney. Make the best use of this last vital right by contacting a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as you are able.
Q. The police didn’t read me my rights. Doesn’t this mean the charge against me has to be dismissed?
A. No. But what it may mean is that any statement you made during an interrogation while in custody will not be admissible and, any new information or evidence that came about as a result of your statement may not be admissible. It is possible that without the evidence that surfaced as a result of your statement, the charges may be dismissed due to lack of admissible evidence. However, the dismissal would not be a direct result of not having been read your rights.
Q: Are the police required to be truthful when they question me about a crime?
A. No – the police are allowed to be untruthful in an effort to encourage you to incriminate yourself. A common ploy is to tell you that there are witnesses, evidence or that suspected accomplices have admitted to their role in the crime and cited you. This is why you must enlist the counsel of a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney.
Q. The police want to search my car and my house – do I have to let them in?
A. Generally, you do not have to allow police into your home if they have not presented you with a search warrant. Often, police officers will want to avoid obtaining a search warrant and simply ask your permission because there is an extra amount of time and paperwork involved with search warrants. It is not to your advantage to agree to a search without a warrant. Contact a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately if you have not already done so.
The police have more leeway with regard to obtaining permission when it comes to your car. If you are being arrested, the police are allowed to search your car. However, if you are stopped by the police, you are within your rights to verbally request that they do not search your car. This is key because if the police do in fact have a legal right to search, they will conduct the search despite your objections. But if they do not have the legal right to search, and you give them your consent, anything incriminating found can be used against because you agreed to the search. If you object verbally, and an illegal search is conducted, anything found cannot be used against you.
Q: This is my first offense and I have been offered no jail time by the district attorney if I plead guilty – is it worth it to plead guilty so that I don’t to go to jail?
A. There is never a straight “yes” or “no” answer to this which is why it is so very important to have the input of a seasoned criminal defense attorney before even contemplating pleading guilty to avoid jail time. Each case must be evaluated separately and the seriousness of the charge will have a lot to do with it. It may be that you won’t serve jail time anyway, so it would not be in your best interest to plead guilty because there may be other legal options available to you that you have not been informed about.