Criminal Defense Frequently Asked Questions

What are my rights?
If you have been charged with a crime you have a number of very important rights. How and when you exercise these rights will likely have serious ramifications on your case. Specific charges and specific facts may also give rise to other rights which you may be able to enforce to your benefit during your case. A criminal defense attorney can make sure that your rights are protected. As the individual charged you have the right to choose whether to take your case to trial or to negotiate a plea agreement with the District Attorney. Conviction of even seemingly minor offenses can have serious and protracted consequences for you and those you love.

An attorney's main role is to act as an advisor through the different stages of your case. The following is a brief list of some of the rights which you need to discuss with your criminal defense attorney as you decide how to proceed:

  • You have the right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures.
  • You have the right to be informed of your rights before interrogation while in police custody.
  • You have the right to remain silent. You may not be compelled to testify at trial. Should you choose not to testify at trial you the have the right to ask the judge to instruct the jury that your silence is not to be taken as an indication of your guilt.
  • You have the right to be represented by an attorney at ALL critical stages of your case. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you have the right to have the court appoint an attorney to represent you at minimal or no cost.
  • You are presumed innocent of ALL charges and the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The fact that you have been charged is not evidence of guilt.
  • You have the right to enter a plea of not guilty in your case. You can demand a trial by jury or request a trial by judge.
  • You have the right to confront ALL opposing witnesses at any trial or hearing.
  • You have the right to subpoena favorable witnesses and evidence to assist in your defense.
  • You have the right to have your case investigated in an appropriate fashion.
How can an attorney help me?
The extent to which an attorney can help you will depend on his or her background, experience, and the facts surrounding your case. If you have been charged with a crime I will always do the following:

  • I will demand that the District Attorney provide us with all of the evidence that they intend to use against you. If there is evidence in the hands of a third party or government agency I will ask the court to order the production of that evidence.
  • I will carefully and critically scrutinize the State's evidence. If I feel any of the evidence the State seeks to use is inappropriate or procured unlawfully I will file a motion with the court asking the Judge to throw out that evidence so it cannot be used against you.
  • I will consult with you to get your side of the story. During these conversations I will provide you with the information you need in order to make informed choices regarding your case.
  • If appropriate, I will retain an outside investigator and/or expert witness to maximize your chances of successfully defending against the charges.
  • I will aggressively negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf.
What do I do if I am contacted by police or I am arrested?
The first thing you should do once you are able is call an attorney. If you are contacted by law enforcement and they begin to question you, ask them if you are free to leave. If you are free to leave, do so. If you are not free to leave then remain silent. Tell the officer that you do not wish to speak to anyone until you have had an opportunity to discuss the matter with an attorney. SAY NOTHING MORE because anything you say CAN AND WILL be used against you in court.

What do I do if the police want to search me, my belongings, my car or my home?
If a police officer asks to search your person, your belongings, your car, or your home without a valid warrant, SAY NO. In most circumstances the police need a warrant to conduct a legal search. If you consent to a search then anything they find can likely be used against you at trial. If they ask to search you they likely suspect that you are engaged in criminal activity and are looking to build their case.

How much will it cost?
My goal is to provide quality representation at a reasonable fee. Your initial consultation is free. At the initial consultation we will negotiate an appropriate fee given the nature and complexity of your case. The fee may be a flat fee or an hourly rate, but either way you will know exactly what you are paying for my services.

In addition to attorney fees you may be responsible for other costs related to your case. These costs can include investigator fees, expert witness fees, and document reproduction fees, among others. These costs also depend on the nature and complexity of your case. I will discuss with you what costs may be appropriate to your case and will work to keep these costs to a minimum when possible.


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