Frequently Asked Questions
I was accused of a crime. What should I do next?
Call a lawyer. Do not pass go. Do not call your girlfriend or boyfriend, wife, mother or father. And whatever you do, do not speak to the police. Not that they’re bad people, but because that is the worst thing you can do when your freedom is at stake. The system favors law enforcement over the individual when someone is targeted for investigation.
Guilt or innocence doesn’t play a role in how you should proceed when you are accused of a crime. I often hear, but “I didn’t do anything wrong, therefore, I don’t have anything to hide.” Too many people are willing to share their story with anyone who will listen. Too many people think they can “explain.” That’s a normal human reaction, but it is the worst reaction if you are the target in a criminal investigation. It’s best to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the best possible strategies for you, even if that means establishing innocence. You don’t want to share your story and the details be repeated among friends and the details get altered or the story be repeated to someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart. You don’t want to “explain” yourself to law enforcement, without a lawyer representing your interests. Keep in mind, they are trained interrogators and their interests might not align with yours. Once a criminal inquiry is being made, the system favors law enforcement over you, as an individual. The system allows you to remain silent and to have an attorney present for all questioning. Those are your most important rights in such a scenario; exercise them or lose them, and possibly, your freedom.
If I’m pulled over by a police officer, what are my rights?
- You have the right to remain silent.
- You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may pat down your clothing if they suspect a weapon.
- If you are arrested by police, you have the right to a government-appointed lawyer if you cannot afford one.
- You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country.
I was arrested. What should I do next?
Do not speak to the authorities who arrest you. Cooperate with their requests, such as stand up, turn around, provide identification, but preserve your right to remain silent. “Officer, I want an attorney”. Say this and say nothing more. Because everything you say during this time is used against you. You will be fingerprinted and photographed and may need to wait for bail. Contact an attorney right away.
What should I bring to my initial appointment?
To ensure we can make the most of this initial meeting please be sure to bring all paperwork you have pertaining to your case. When in doubt, bring it! This includes paperwork provided upon bonding out of jail and any material you have which we can utilize for your defense. Remember, the more information I have up front the better assessment I can make of your case. It also gives me the ability to outline any information I know you are missing. Preserving your evidence is often most efficient immediately after the incident.
How much will this cost me?
What is the difference between probation or parole?
For most people, both are better than jail time. Probation often allows you to stay in your home and job instead of going to jail. Parole enables you to leave prison or jail early and return to your home. Both options require specific, limiting conditions and working with a probation officer.