No one plans on being accused of a crime or being under investigation or having their home or vehicle searched – one of the clearest indications that you are under investigation. For this reason, very few people know how to proceed when these things happen. You’re probably stressed and wondering “What do I do now?” There are three things you need to do and some things to remember in each.
First, stop all communication with the police, prosecutor or any other government officials. We’ve seen this advice on TV so much that we think that will be our normal response. However, the normal response is thinking, “If I don’t talk to them, they’ll think I’m guilty.” Sadly, they already think you’re guilty. They look for ways to prove that. When they say, “everything you say can and will be used against you”, they mean it. If you don’t have an attorney with you, you’re not properly represented, so don’t say anything other than your name and birthdate – this is your constitutional right.
It should be pointed out that police are people too and that means they have the same emotions as anyone else. So, even though it is wise to refuse to talk until you have legal counsel it is also wise to do so politely. The police will respond to rudeness or belligerence just like anyone else would and at this point they are the ones with authority and who suspect you of having committed a crime.
Since you’re reading this it’s possible that you’ve already faced questioning from law enforcement and in that case it is possible that you already spoke to the police. Don’t panic. It’s true that you can’t turn back the clock and take back your words and panicking won’t make it so. Write down everything you said to the police so you can discuss it with your defense attorney. You will also want to discuss the possibility of a motion to suppress. If he can get your statement suppressed it cannot be able to be used against you in court. If the prosecution’s case rested largely on your statement then they may even have to drop the case and your headache is over.
The last bit of advice probably made it clear what you need to do next – get a lawyer. Right now, you think nobody is on your side. By hiring Smith and White you change that. The motto of the firm is: “Compassionate Counsel. Passionate Defense.” Our belief is that no one in the courtroom is more important than our client and nothing is more important than making sure they get the most favorable result possible. You may be saying, “I don’t need a lawyer – I’m guilty, I should just plead out.” The law is very complicated. You may not be guilty – our defense team will make sure you’re informed of your best possible course. You may be saying, “I don’t need a lawyer – I’m innocent and they have to prove me guilty.” Someone thinks you’re guilty and they believe they can prove it. You need Smith and White to show the judge or jury how the prosecution has failed to prove your guilt. When you first meet with your defense attorney it is advisable to have written down everything you can think of about the case, anything you said to the police, any other details you think may be important and any questions you want to ask.
Lastly, find out if the crime you’re accused of has any special considerations that need to be handled timely. Here are some examples. If you’ve been accused of DUI, request a hearing 20 days after your arrest – you don’t want your license suspended. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence do not contact your accuser – you would probably be risking breaking a no contact order. If you’ve been accused of assault, keep in mind that you’re accuser may exaggerate and also consider whether self-defense can be argued.
Just three things to remember, but they are very important.
At this point you will want to be contacting your Seattle Tacoma criminal defense attorney. The sooner you start talking to them, the sooner they can start working on your case. You will get your story heard, you will get legal counsel as to how to proceed, you will get your rights defended and you will get your best result possible. Please call the law office of Smith & White – the first consultation is free.