Criminal Cases Dos and Don’ts

The single most important concept in criminal law is that law enforcement has the burden of proving you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction.  Most cases are lost before they ever come across our desk because citizens say too much to law enforcement prior to speaking with an attorney.  In the event you find yourself being questioned by an officer of any kind, the following are good rules to follow:

  1. Do not talk to them.  Be polite, give them your name, and tell them you will be happy to speak with them with an attorney present.
  2. If you are not under arrest, walk away from them.  Do not go to the police station to meet with them for any reason whatsoever without an attorney present.
  3. If law enforcement comes to your home, do not let them inside your home unless they have an arrest warrant or search warrant.  In a majority of the cases, law enforcement has no right to enter your home or car without a warrant or your permission.  Obviously, if you are committing a crime and they see it openly, they do not need your permission.
  4. If you find yourself arrested and being questioned, ask for a lawyer until they either stop the questions or allow you to call an attorney.
  5. In most cases, law enforcement has no case until you tell them what happened or confess to something you do not mean to confess to.  Once the words come out of your mouth, they cannot be taken back.  Do not sign any statements prepared by an officer without an attorney present.