Do I have to talk with the police when I get stopped?

You do need to provide identification and information about where you live. The police are allowed to deceive you in order to build the case against you. The police are allowed to try to intimidate you or deceive you into thinking they are your friend. A common tactic used is to promise favorable treatment if you cooperate. The police or detective have no authority to give you favorable treatment, only the District Attorney can negotiate that with your attorney. Do not talk to the police. It is your right to remain silent.

Do I have to talk with a Detective over the phone when he is conducting an investigation?

No. Detectives are allowed to contact suspects over the phone. Since the suspect is not in custody the Detective is not required to advise him of his Miranda rights. If police contact you by phone as a possible suspect you have the right to refuse to answer and hang up.

Do I have to give consent to search?

No. Without a search warrant or your consent, the police cannot search your home. One exception is if police are in “hot pursuit”, they may enter private dwellings to search for criminals who they believe are fleeing the scene of a crime. In certain circumstances the police do not need a search warrant. If you agree to the search, then it’s consensual. If a person is placed under arrest, the police may search the person and immediate surroundings. The police don’t need a warrant if they have fear that their safety, or that of the public is in imminent danger. If the police has observed illegal items or contraband and has a belief that the items, potential evidence, might disappear or be destroyed they do not need a search warrant.

Why didn't the officer read me my rights?

Officers only read you your rights when you are in custody and they wish to take a statement from you. If you gave a statement without being read your rights, you may have an issue with the evidence and how it may be used against you.

What can a lawyer do for me?

A lawyer negotiates on your behalf with the prosecuting attorney. If you are wrongly accused, the lawyer points out valid defenses to the charge and through investigation, evidence the prosecution has not considered in hopes the prosecution will dismiss the matter. If the prosecution refuses to dismiss the matter, then you proceed to trial. A careful analysis of the evidence against you as well as the evidence you can present at trial is very important in deciding whether to proceed to trial. A lawyer helps you with these decisions.

If you are guilty as charged, the lawyer can personalize your situation to the prosecutor by explaining mitigating circumstances. A prosecutor can often be convinced to lesson the charges and possible penalties.

What is a motions hearing?

A motions hearing is a hearing held before trial. The defense often files motions to suppress evidence from being introduced at trial. The Court will suppress evidence when the police obtain the evidence in violation of your Constitutional rights. Evidentiary issues are heard prior to trial to determine what evidence will be heard by a jury. The prosecution files motions to see what evidence they are permitted to use against the Defendant. The prosecution may also file motions to add charges or to attempt to introduce evidence of other bad acts by the Defendant. The motions hearing is an opportunity to preview and cross examine testimony that will be offered at trial.

Do I have to go to trial?

No. In most cases, the prosecutor will offer some type of plea bargain. Whether you take the plea bargain is always your decision. A lawyer can help negotiate the best plea bargain and negotiate terms of the plea.

Do I have to take the plea bargain?

No. If you didn't do the crime, don't plead guilty. You are presumed innocent and that presumption remains with you until the prosecutor proves you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury.