Know Your Rights

Exercise your right against self-incrimination

Do NOT Talk to Police. You cannot talk yourself out of being arrested. Anything you say, despite how trivial it may seem, can be used against you. Confessions are a prosecutor’s number 1 weapon. If you say something that is not a confession, it could still be used to charge you with a crime. Even veteran cops will twist your words around to try and say something you’ll later regret. Spare yourself the nightmare! DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. DO NOT GIVE A STATEMENT. Do not sign anything. Demand to talk to a lawyer before any questioning!

Remember, you are also guaranteed a right to remain silent at your trial. It’s the state’s burden to prove you guilty of any charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

You don’t have to say anything, so DON’T say anything!


Exercise your right against unlawful searches and seizures

drugs in glove box

Do NOT consent to any searches! This includes your car, your backpack, and your home! Officers must have a warrant to search your possessions if they don’t have your consent. There are certain situations in which an officer may search you without a warrant, including when contraband is in plain view, when you’re being arrested, and when your car is being impounded. But generally an officer will try and get you to consent and then search everywhere he or she pleases. Do you want the cops sniffing around your glove box? No! Do NOT consent to any search!!!

And remember, anything you say while the cops are at your house or in your car searching, can be used against you whether it was an official statement or just an “excited utterance” around them. For example, if they hear you say “hey, that’s my weed!” when you see agents find the marijuana in your car, it will be used against you.

Remember, if stopped by police:

  • 1.
    Be courteous. Do not resist. Do NOT give any false information! You could be charged with giving false information to police or obstruction of the legal process if you lie about your name, or if you physically resist arrest.
  • 2.
    If stopped for DWI/BWI/DUI and read the implied consent, take the blood alcohol test. Refusing to take the test is a crime. You have a right to request a blood or urine test. Exercise your right!
  • 3.
    Do not consent to any searches. Do not consent to the officer looking in your car, your home, or your personal belongings.
  • 4.
    Do not hand over your cell phone, laptop, other electronic devices, or passwords. Law Enforcement needs a warrant before they can snoop into your electronic data. Don’t just give it up!
  • 5.
    Do not make any statements. Even if you think being honest will help you, chances are it will do more harm.
  • 6.
    Ask if you are free to go. “Am I being detained, officer?” The officer must have probable cause to arrest you. If you are not under arrest, you should be allowed to leave.

Exercise your right to trial

Just because you’ve been charged with crimes by the state or federal Government doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to be found guilty. You have the right to make the prosecutor prove their charges against you in trial.

A trial is a formal proceeding during which the prosecutor tries to prove their case and convict you of a crime.

At trial you have the right:

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    To challenge the admissibility of evidence before the trial starts;
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    To confront and cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses;
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    To bring in witnesses in your defense, by the power of judicial subpoena if necessary;
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    To take the stand in your own defense or
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    To remain silent, and if you decide to remain silent, the prosecutor can’t use that choice against you;
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    To have your trial before just a sitting judge (called a bench trial), or to a panel of jurors. In misdemeanor/gross misdemeanor cases, the jury consists of 6 people. For all felonies and federal matters, the jury consists of 12;
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    To be presumed innocent;
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    To require the prosecutor to prove the charges against you Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

Taking a case trial is a serious endeavor, and there are lots of rules of evidence, motions in limine, and other parts of criminal litigation that an experienced trial practitioner knows and utilizes to try and prevent the defendant from being convicted. It is not wise to try and try a case by yourself.

You need an experienced criminal defense trial lawyer at your side to hold the Government to its burden. Catherine is an experienced criminal defense attorney that defends against all federal and state criminal charges. If you or a loved one have been accused of federal or state criminal charges, she can help. Call today for a free consultation.

Do not talk to anyone about your case until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.

If you have been the subject of a search, seizure, or statement by police, Catherine can help. Call for a free consultation.