Common Questions About Criminal Defense

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Q: Do I have to give consent if the police want to search my home or car?
Q: Do officials legally have to read me my rights?
Q: If I am innocent do I still need an attorney?
Q: Can't I simply plead guilty to get it over with quicker?
Q: Are the police permitted to lie to a suspect during questioning?
Q: What is probation?

Do I have to give consent if the police want to search my home or car?

Fortunately, you do not ever have to give law enforcement officials your consent to do a search. In fact, most attorneys will greatly discourage it just as a necessary precaution. The police can only search your property if they have you voluntary consent or if they have a warrant. If you refuse, they will try to coerce and persuade you or even threaten to detain you until they procure a warrant. If they do not have your consent or a warrant, and they do an illegal search of your home they will not be able to use anything that they find as evidence against you in court. When it comes to your car, the police may only search it if they have reason to believe that there is an illegal substance, stolen goods, or other evidence in the vehicle. They are also permitted to search if your car has been confiscated.

Do officials legally have to read me my rights?

Actually no, law enforcement officials only have to read you your rights if you are being questioned in custody and they plan to use your statements as evidence for the case. Many people believe that their rights have to be read at the very moment of arrest but that is a scene that has been played out in too many movies. If they already have sufficient evidence against you and do not plan to use your testimony or statement, then they can proceed with the case without ever reading you the Miranda Rights. If you willfully go down to the station and give a statement, even though you are not in custody, they are legally permitted to use that statement against you. The Miranda Warning goes as follows,

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?"

If I am innocent do I still need an attorney?

Most definitely, if you are innocent and you have been charged with a crime, then you actually have more at stake. Many people are fooled into believing that the court will clearly determine that in search for the truth, they will be innocent. Don't be mistaken however, they say that you are innocent until proven guilty but there are innocent people being wrongly accused on a daily basis. Is that a risk you want to take? If police officials have taken you into custody, it is because they already believe you to be guilty and they are simply in search of evidence to land a guilty conviction. The system is put into place to ensure that criminals are penalized for their crimes and if you have already been accused then you have to work in order to clear your name. I, Jason Baltz can help you protect your reputation and prove your innocence in court.

Can't I simply plead guilty to get it over with quicker?

That is a very dangerous and reckless way to think. Every time I have a client who thinks that they have a hopeless case and they are as good as convicted, they want to jump right to the end and get straight to the sentencing. First of all, this will throw away any chances of success and when it comes to your future and your freedom, you should not be so quick to raise that white flag. With an assertive legal advocate fighting beside you, you may be able to have your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. If you negotiate a plea bargain with the judge or the prosecution, you may be able to walk away with the minimal sentence instead of giving up and receiving the maximum penalty.

Are the police permitted to lie to a suspect during questioning?

The frightening answer to that question is yes, they are legally permitted to tell you any lie or exaggeration of the truth in order to draw a confession out of you. First off, I would like to remind you that you have the right to remain silent and the right to speak to your attorney before answering any questions that law enforcement might have. During questioning, don't believe everything that they tell you. Many times they will tell the suspect that their accomplice has confessed when really, they haven't. More often than not, they also lie about having convicting evidence and witnesses that saw you commit the crime when they have neither. Don't be fooled into a confession, they want you to incriminate yourself in order to speed up the process of determining guilt.

What is probation?

Probation is typically granted to first time offenders who committed a non-violent crime. In cases of this nature, their jail or prison sentence is suspended and they are permitted to be released on probation as long as they follow all of the terms and conditions. During this time, it is typically for the individual to be required to contact their probation officer on a regular basis while also attending any mandatory classes or programs relating to their offense such as drug, alcohol, or anger management courses. Once probation is over they are then out from under the court's supervision.

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