Presented to you by Los Angeles criminal defense attorney,
Robert Helfend

This article contains several helpful tips on how to proceed when you are faced with a criminal matter, and how your criminal defense lawyer can assist you in protecting your legal rights.

Discussing your arrest and detention with a police officer or other law enforcement official
Do not talk to the police without proper representation. If you believe that talking to a police officer can be beneficial to your case, consult your criminal defense lawyer prior to any interview. It is not likely that your attorney will advise you to speak with the police.

Home Searches
Do not give consent to any police officer to search your home. You cannot prevent a search if they show you a proper search warrant. Ensure that the police ONLY search the areas and persons LISTED in the warrant.

Do not provide anyone with a confession over the phone, this includes your mobile or jail phone. In fact, avoid discussing the facts of your case at all, unless your criminal defense lawyer advises you to do otherwise. Jail calls are always tape recorded and can be used against you in a jury trial.

Complying with Police Officials
Do not be combative or physically resist an officer. It is ALWAYS a safe practice to remain silent about all facts, other than your name, address and date of birth.

Miranda rights
You are only entitled to have them given to you when you are in custody and under investigation. If you are under arrest and speak with a police officer before they have given you the Miranda warning, you may be deemed to have consented to the use of your statements in a jury trial.

Under the law, you are not required to answer all questions asked by the police.
In some states, the only questions you are required to answer are those regarding your identity. Questions like “How fast were you going,” or “where are you coming from?” do not and shouldn’t be answered. Always try to remain calm. Although interrogations can become frustrating, remember to be polite and respectful. Tell them you intend to cooperate with them in a lawful manner but want to talk to your lawyer before answering any questions.

Federal Crimes vs. State Crimes
There is a difference between the federal judicial system and state judicial system. There are different laws, different procedures and different punishments/penalties when dealing with a federal offense vs. a state offense. Federal crimes usually involve a federal agency like DEA, FBI or ICE. A state offense involves local police or sheriffs.

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