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Protecting Your Rights At Every Stage Of The Criminal Justice System

What a good defense attorney can do

The party was great. It was a long week and you worked hard. Letting down with your co-workers was the best thing you could do. You’re relaxed and ready to tackle the weekend chores and events you have planned. You’re almost home when you “pause” at a stop sign and within moments you see red lights behind you.

You pull over and hand the officer your license and insurance card. He hesitates just a fraction of a second before he asks, “Have you been drinking?”

Do you know how to answer?

What response do you give? Should you be honest? Should you refuse to talk to the cop? Whether this is your first time speaking with an officer—or your 50th—knowing how to protect yourself and your rights is crucial. And a good defense lawyer can help you do just that.

There is a reason attorneys are also known as “counselors at law.” A defense lawyer will counsel you about your case, your options and, in general, protect your interests while you navigate the criminal court system. From arrest to adjudication, your attorney ensures that you receive all the benefits the U.S. Constitution confers on you.

Like What?

The Constitution gives you the right not to incriminate yourself. In the scenario above, the best thing you can do is calmly and politely tell the officer that you would like your attorney and that you do not want to talk to him. If you are arrested, you have the opportunity to speak with an attorney before submitting to a breath test. That attorney can then counsel you on your choices.

You also have the right to an attorney if you cannot afford one. If you are arrested and the court finds that you do not have enough funds to cover representation, you will be appointed an attorney at no cost.

Protection from illegal search and seizure is also guaranteed. If an officer comes to your house, can he simply demand to be let in? Do you have the right to say no? A defense lawyer can help you understand that—absent a warrant--you can, and should, always refuse to let a cop into your home.

What if I have to go to court?

If you do face charges, your lawyer will review your case for any violations of your rights. Was the stop above legal? Were you read your rights when you were arrested? If you did take a breath test, was the machine properly calibrated and the officer properly trained? If the answer is no to any of these questions, your case may be dismissed.

Having an attorney by your side is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Protecting your rights is up to you—and a skilled defense attorney can insure your future.


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