Here at Whitestone Young, PC, we get a lot of questions from people who have been arrested or are under criminal investigation. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions out there that persist.
Below are some of the most frequently asked criminal defense questions:
Do I Really Need A Lawyer? It's Just A Misdemeanor Charge.
There is no such thing as a minor criminal charge. Even if you do not receive any jail time, a guilty verdict will mean you have a criminal record that may show up on background checks for job, housing and credit applications. After an arrest, you should always discuss your rights and options with an attorney before making any decisions.
Should I Talk To The Police?
Many people think they have to answer the police's questions. Police and prosecutors can use anything you tell them against you. You do not have to talk to the police, even if they arrest you. Even if you did not do anything wrong but messed up your facts, they can use that to portray you as a liar. If police want to question you, politely tell them that you would like to speak with your lawyer first. In some cases, it may be beneficial to talk to the police, but you should only make that decision after you talk to your lawyer.
Should I Let Police Search My House Or Car?
You do not have to let police search your house or car if they do not have a search warrant. If they try to talk you into it, tell them that they need to show you a warrant and that you are calling your attorney. You do not have to help police build a case against you.
Do I Need To Take A Field Sobriety Test?
Just like the previous two questions, you do not have to submit to a field sobriety test or on-site breath test if police stop you on suspicion of drunk driving. Refusing to take these tests cannot be considered an admission of guilt. If you take them, you could be helping police make their case against you.
The Prosecutor Told Me This Is The Best Deal Possible. Shouldn't I Just Take It?
Do not agree to a plea deal without talking to an attorney first. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the courts and how the system works will force prosecutors to stop trying to walk all over you. If police and prosecutors are trying to talk you into accepting a deal, it is often because they want you to make their jobs easier. You do not have to help them.
I Was Found Guilty. Can I Appeal?
You are free to file an appeal, but winning an appeal is very difficult. An appellate court may even refuse to hear your argument in court. Before taking any action, you should discuss your options with proven appellate lawyers who know what makes a successful appeal.
We have answers to many more of your questions. To learn more, please contact Whitestone Young of Fairfax, Virginia, via email or by calling 703-591-0200.