Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense

A: When considering a criminal defense lawyer, take into account is the possible consequences you face, and consider factors other than fines and jail time; look at the possibility of a license suspension, whether you’ll have a problem maintaining your employment or your professional license, the cost of car insurance or whether you will have to be placed on a registry of some kind. There are many things to consider besides whether you’ll be fined or have to spend time in jail; there are many ways a criminal conviction can cost you; criminal charges are an expensive proposition, which is why there is criminal defense lawyers; they can help you to avoid all of those expenses.

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is an investment, as much as it is a protection of your personal liberty; in most cases, it will be worth it to hire one because they will be able to save you money on fines, or even get your case dismissed completely. They may be able to work out a plea agreement to protect your record, as well as your employment, insurance, professional licensing and things like that.

When deciding which criminal attorney to hire, take into account the specific crime and whether the attorney has experience with the particular crime you are charged with and who understands the ramifications of conviction, including dealing with expungement or making sure you keep your driver’s licenses. Make sure they have defended others and taken cases similar to yours to trial; those types of attorneys know what to expect when it comes to defending you, including knowing the best defenses, knowing how to works with juries and things like that.

A: There is never a reason to defend yourself; if you don’t have the money to hire a private attorney, try to get a public defender. There are many dangerous aspects to being charged with a crime; if you just go into court on your own behalf, you won’t know what you’re doing, and if the prosecutor offers a plea, you won’t know if the offer is reasonable, or the potential consequences of accepting that offer are. Not only that, but there may be something about your case that could cause it to be dismissed outright, but you won’t know what that is; you need someone in your corner who understands the law, and you don’t.

If you have no money for a private lawyer, get a public defender, but if you can hire a private attorney, it is worth the cost. Public defenders are good lawyers, with a lot of experience in particular courts and with particular judges, but they simply don’t have the time to invest in your case; to search for inconsistencies in police reports; to look at videotapes of arrests; to investigate the scene of the crime, to talk to witnesses; they just don’t have time to do any of that stuff, because the average public defender has 80 or more open cases, whereas a private attorney will have maybe a couple dozen or less and have the time to spend on each one.

With a public defender, you’ll only get to talk to them at court, and they’ll have looked at your file while they’re talking to the judge; they won’t be familiar with you or your situation. However, a private attorney will meet with you and have time to look over everything; to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s, and do all the research to make sure every stone is turned while searching for a defense to your case, and to negotiate with prosecutor to get you the best offer possible and to make sure you understand the consequences of your charge, beyond criminal penalties like jails and fines if you can afford to hire a private attorney.

A: Most of the time, the answer to that question is no; Miranda Rights has become a pop culture phenomenon that is kind of overblown and misunderstood; they believe police have to read you this in every case. However, what Miranda Rights do is protect you, to make sure you understand that you have the right to remain silent and to get an attorney if you are arrested.

If the cops don’t read your Miranda Rights, anything you say cannot be used against you and any evidence that was gathered based on what you said can be suppressed by your attorney, which means it can’t be used against you at trial. On the other hand, if police and prosecutors have lots of evidence that has nothing to do with statements you made to them without Miranda, the fact that they didn’t read you your Miranda Rights may not really affect your case that much.

The bottom line is, it can sometimes be really helpful when an officer doesn’t read the Miranda Rights properly, if it results in suppressing some statements and evidence, but if they have other evidence they’re using to develop probable cause to arrest you, you probably won’t be helped much if they don’t read you your Miranda Rights.

A: The problem with Miranda Rights is they just don’t affect much of the evidence used by police and prosecutors, so it may not matter if an officer doesn’t read you your Miranda Rights. It also won’t affect any forensic, collateral or circumstantial evidence it only really protects you from your own statements.

Even though they’ve become part of pop culture, there are many misunderstandings regarding Miranda Rights; many people think police have to read them in every case. What has happened, though, is that police have found other ways to get the evidence they need, since so many people know they have the right to remain silent and to speak to an attorney. That makes Miranda Rights less important than they used to be.

A: When you’re charged with a crime, the first thing you’ll want to do is preserve your recollection of all the events and any investigation officers conducted, including all questions asked, so that you can give your attorney as much information as possible. You should write everything down, because you may forget certain things that may not seem important to you, but which may be very important to your attorney. Having as much information as possible will allow your attorney to do the proper research, explore any defenses, or even allow you to suppress evidence. All of that could help you be acquitted or get your case dismissed.

You also need an attorney who is experienced and understands the particular charge you’re facing, knows how to investigate those charges and what pitfalls to avoid and who knows how to handle juries and convince them that you’re not guilty. Make sure your attorney is someone who will spend the proper time and care on your case and who will explores any possible defense.

A: Your freedom from unreasonable searches is one of the most important things that will help you defend against a criminal charge. The right to not be searched is very strong and broad but in many cases, defendants are charged with crimes after being investigated or arrested without a warrant. There is extra protection for you, though, because the Fourth Amendment prevents officers from just searching anyone without probable cause.

You should assert those rights by not consenting to any searches and not agreeing to any sort of investigations or questioning by officers. Also, always ask the officer if he’s detaining you, if you’re free to leave, and if he has reasonable suspicion to prevent you from leaving and to hold you for questioning. That’s how you prevent them from getting information that can lead to your arrest, help them to develop probable cause, and to prevent them from railroading you.

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