Right to a Criminal Defense Lawyer: Defendants have the right to a criminal defense attorney throughout legal proceedings.
Right Against Self-Incrimination: The defendant has the right to remain silent, to prevent self-incrimination, and the right to testify on their own behalf.
Right to a Jury Trial: Defendants have the right to a speedy, public jury trial. At the trial, the defendant is presumed innocent, and cannot be convicted unless an impartial jury unanimously finds the defendant guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.
Right to Confront Witnesses: Defendants have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses testifying against them.
Right to Produce Evidence: The defendant has the right to present evidence and to have the court issue a subpoena to bring into court all witnesses and evidence favorable to them, at no cost to them.
What You Need to Know if You Are Ever Arrested
As part of our commitment to excellence, at the Law Office of David J. Sobel we pride ourselves with educating and counseling our clients in their time of need. There are a few important things you need to know.
1. Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your criminal defense lawyer. Not even your friends, family, members, or cellmates. What you say can be used against you.
2. Do not call or make any contact with any law enforcement agency, or prosecuting State Attorney without first consulting with your Criminal Defense Attorney.
3. Immediately identify and locate any potential witnesses that may have any information that will help your criminal defense lawyer.
4. If contacted by any law enforcement investigation, immediately and politely refuse to answer any questions without your criminal defense lawyer present.
5. Never consent to any search or turn over anything to law enforcement without consulting with your criminal defense lawyer first.
6. Everything you tell your criminal defense lawyer is confidential and will not be used against you. Be truthful and communicate thoroughly with your criminal defense lawyer.
When you are arrested, you are taken into custody. This means that you are not free to leave the scene. Even without being arrested, you can be detained or held for questioning for a short time if a police officer or other person believes you may be involved in a crime.
What Rights Do I Have?
Whether you are an adult citizen or non-citizen, you have certain rights if you are arrested.
Before the law enforcement officer questions you, he or she should tell you that:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say may be used against you.
- You have the right to have a lawyer present while you are questioned.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.
These are your “Miranda Rights”, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. If you are not given these warnings, and you are in custody, your criminal defense attorney can ask that any statements you made to the police not be used against you in court. However, this does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed and does not apply if you volunteer information without being questioned by the police.
Once I Am Told My Rights, Can I Be Questioned?
You can be questioned, without a lawyer present, only if you voluntarily give up your rights and if you understand what you are giving up. If you agree to the questioning, then change your mind, questioning must stop as soon as you say that you want a defense lawyer. If the questioning continues after you request a lawyer and you continue to talk, your answers can be used against you if you testify to something different.
When Should I See A Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you are arrested for a crime, any crime, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to properly advise or counsel you during this difficult time. Law Enforcement officers are trained to gather evidence and question suspects. They are allowed to lie and manipulate the truth when questioning a suspect. If the state has a trained officer questioning you, then you should have an experienced lawyer advising you in order to avoid being misinterpreted or misunderstood. The criminal defense attorney also can advise you, your family, and/or friends on the bail process.
When Can An Officer Conduct A Search?
An officer may only conduct a search if he/she has obtained either your consent or a search warrant. You have the right, to see the warrant prior to the beginning of a search. You have the right to refuse to consent to any search that an officer is requesting.
Car Searches. Your car and trunk can be searched without your consent or a warrant if an officer has probable cause to believe that they may contain contraband or evidence. If the police stop your car for any legal reason, such as a broken tail light, they can seize any illegal goods that they see in plain view.
Body Searches. If you during the course of an investigation, an officer develops reasonable suspicion that you are carrying a weapon on your person, the officer may conduct a pat down search to check for weapons.. If you are arrested, an officer can search you, without a warrant, for weapons, evidence, illegal or stolen goods.
Home Searches. In emergencies, such as when an officer may be trying to prevent someone from destroying evidence, your home can be searched without your consent and without a warrant. If you are taken into custody while in your home, an officer can search without a warrant within the limited area surrounding the place from which you are arrested. Additional rooms, and even other parts of the same room are off limits, unless the officer believes that there may be suspects hiding within your residence. While searching your home, an officer can seize evidence associated with any type of criminal activity, such as stolen property or drugs, that is clearly seen in plain view.
If you, your home or your car are searched illegally, a judge may rule that any evidence found during the search cannot be used against you in court. However, your criminal defense lawyer needs to file and argue a motion to suppress. It is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer review your case.
The purpose of this section is to provide general information on the law, which is subject to change. If you have a specific legal problem, please call The Law Office of David J. Sobel P.A. for a free consultation.