Valparaiso Criminal Defense Attorney FAQs To Help You Understand Your Rights
What Should I Do If Law Enforcement Agents Come To My Home?
If anyone from a law enforcement agency comes to your home to ask you questions, don’t let them in without a warrant. Instead, step outside your home and shut the door. Then you should ask for their contact information – they should have a business card available – then inform them that your attorney will be in contact.
The law enforcement officers will likely continue trying to talk to you, but it’s important for you to assert your right to remain silent and speak only when a lawyer is present. Simply restate that your lawyer will contact them, step back inside your home, and immediately call a reputable criminal defense attorney.
What If The Police Have A Search Warrant?
If law enforcement shows up at your house with a search warrant, you are legally required to let them in. Make sure you get a copy of the warrant plus the contact information for the investigator who’s in charge.
Again, be careful not to say anything in the presence of law enforcement without a lawyer there to counsel you. Don’t make any statements and call a lawyer as soon as you get the chance – even while the warrant is being executed, if possible.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Arrested?
If you haven’t done so already, the first thing you need to do is call a defense attorney you can trust. Having an experienced lawyer on your side is the best chance you have at beating the charges. Remember to remain silent and exercise your 5th amendment rights; don’t say anything to law enforcement until your lawyer arrives.
What Should I Expect After I’ve Been Arrested?
After your arrest, you may be given the opportunity to post bail and get out of jail, depending upon the seriousness of the charges against you.
The next step in the process is to have an arraignment. This is a formal court proceeding where the charges are formally read to you and you enter a plea – either guilty, not guilty, or no contest (depending on the charges and state laws.) If you have not already had the chance to post bail, the judge will likely decide if you are eligible for release at the arraignment.
After that, you could either make a plea agreement, have the charges dismissed, or go through a trial, depending upon the specifics of your case.
What’s The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony?
The primary difference between the two is the severity of the crime. Some of the most common misdemeanors are theft, assault, public intoxication, vandalism, possession of controlled substances, driving under the influence (DUI), resisting arrest, battery, and trespassing. Felony offenses include murder, aggravated rape, sale or manufacture of drugs, voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, grand larceny, and arson.
Do I Really Need To Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer If I’ve Been Arrested?
In a word, yes. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to help protect your rights, mount a strong defense, and avoid the maximum penalties.