Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense
It is always worthwhile to hire a lawyer whenever someone is charged with a crime because their liberty is at stake. The prospect of facing time in jail, heavy fines and a criminal record should make hiring the right lawyer an absolute necessity.
You find the right attorney by speaking to several and asking a lot of questions; you want an attorney who has the experience and who comes highly recommended by those who have used their services before, and who is very knowledgeable about criminal cases. But most importantly, they should choose an attorney with whom they feel comfortable, because they are putting their life and liberty into that attorney’s hands.
There may be reasons why someone might choose to defend themselves, such as being unable to afford private counsel, but it’s difficult to imagine it ever being beneficial. Where we live, public defenders do a good job; they are experienced attorneys and they take their caseloads seriously, even if they are heavier than most other attorneys. However, a private attorney can be a good choice, because they will be able to give your case the time and effort needed to get you the best possible result.
Whether or not a case can be dismissed because a police officer failed to read Miranda rights will depend on a number of factors, including the type of case, whether or not an arrest warrant had been issued and the police were executing the warrant, or if police were asking someone to volunteer information or to make a statement in an investigatory arrest. The Miranda rights would not be necessary or applicable if they caught the person fleeing the scene of a crime or they had pulled the person over to investigate a DUI.
Miranda rights are not less relevant these days, but they are more misunderstood, in part because people want to be their own lawyer, and they believe they can Google something and know everything about any issue, and that makes them susceptible to a lot more misinformation.
Something like 90 percent of people charged with DUI say police didn’t read them their Miranda rights and they believe that should be the death knell for their case; that they should win outright because of that, which is just bad information. That’s why everyone needs to call a lawyer early, before they start their Google search.
There are many ways to hear these results, in part because everyone arrested and charged with a crime is presumed to be not guilty, and the state has the burden of proving the person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If they don’t have sufficient evidence or holes can be poked in the evidence they have, that becomes more difficult.
Dismissal happens when the lawyer negotiates with the prosecutor and is able to show that they can’t meet their burden of proof, and causing them to dismiss the case because of that. Of course, a case can also be dismissed if the attorney can negotiate their client into something like a pretrial diversion, community service, classes or something else appropriate to the crime charged, and they stayed out of trouble for a certain period of time.
To a certain degree, almost anyone can stop a warrantless search; unfortunately, too many people make the mistake of thinking they’re obliged to cooperate and give police permission to search them, their vehicle or their home, which the police too often convert into a lawful arrest.
Police can search someone after an arrest, and they can conduct an inventory search of the car after an arrest, but only for a valid purpose, such as officer or public safety or to account for valuables if they were towing the car, but they cannot just search anything unless there is a warrant or the person gives consent.
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