The following is taken from an interview with a criminal lawyer in Richmond, as they explain how and why you should contact an attorney as soon as you are facing criminal charges. To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a free consultation today.
If questioned by law enforcement, asking to speak with an attorney in no way implies guilt and cannot be used against you. It is your Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate, so you have the right to protect yourself at all time which includes not giving a statement and asserting your right to legal counsel.
Similarly, not consenting to a search does not does not imply guilt. If there is no probable cause for an officer to search you or to search your property whether it be a car, house, or apartment, you do not have to allow that search, you do not have to consent to it despite what law enforcement may say.
If there is not probable cause then the officer must obtain a warrant. Once they obtain a warrant they can then search your property. But prior to obtaining a warrant you do not have to nor should you consent to a search.
The first time you can contact an attorney is after you’ve been in front of a magistrate. The magistrate will determine the charge and bond then at that point you’ll be given an opportunity to use a phone to contact an attorney. If you are incarcerated, an attorney can come to visit you are while being held. It is often in your best interest when charged to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
It’s extremely important to speak with an attorney if contacted by law enforcement prior to being charged. You need to understand your rights and to understand the implications of speaking with law enforcement. It could be a situation where you are implicating yourself or it could be a situation where you are being set up to implicate others that you’re not aware of. It’s always beneficial to speak with an attorney to understand what’s at stake and understand what the possible charges are.
But in addition to that, it’s also important to speak to an attorney to understand if in giving a statement you can help yourself out. In other words, will you be provided immunity should your statements assist law enforcement and an attorney can help negotiate such an arrangement.
Well, the first thing to know is obviously have an understanding of why you are being questioned, but also to understand that you have a right against self-incrimination, so you have a right to remain silent and we usually recommend that individuals assert that right and that they speak with an attorney prior to speaking with the police or that they have an attorney present when they do speak with the police.
The purposes of number one, protecting themselves from self-incrimination, but in addition to that, with the idea of maybe using what other information they can give to help their own case and it can benefit themselves in the future.
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