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Your Constitutional Rights
- You do not have to talk to the police or anyone else about your case.
- You do not have to answer any questions or respond to accusations.
- You are entitled to an attorney before questioning.
- You are entitled to an attorney during any search of your person or property.
- You are guaranteed the right to a jury trial.
- You are entitled to an attorney during any identification procedure.
- You are entitled to all of your rights as provided by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Virginia.
- You may assert your right to remain silent at any time and the police must honor your desire to remain silent and not be asked any questions.
- You MUST assert your right to remain silent or the police may continue to ask questions. The recent Supreme Court cases of BERGHUIS v. THOMPKINS and SALINAS vs TEXAS requires you to invoke your right to counsel and to remain silent. Tell the police, “I want a lawyer, I don’t wish to make a statement and I want to call Richmond Criminal Law."
1. The Supreme Court case of BERGHUIS v. THOMPKINS and SALINAS v. TEXAS
Require you to invoke your right to counsel and to remain silent. Tell the police, "I want a lawyer, I don't wish to make a statement, and I want to call Richmond Criminal Law
You MUST assert your right to remain silent or the police may continue to ask questions.
2. May the police search my belongings?
If you are lawfully arrested, the police may search you, your clothing, the immediate area in which you are found, and in some circumstances, the car in which you are the driver or a passenger. This is referred to as a search incident to arrest and it is not necessary that you consent.
A California case (People v. Diaz, 1-03-2011) allowed the police to search a cell phone without a warrant in an attempt to obtain information. This seems contrary to the 4th Amendment and may be addressed in the near future by federal courts.
This ruiling differes from a similar fact pattern recently decided in Ohio. There is no probhibition against a personal password or pattern to protect a phone, computer, or other electronic device. Whether the police could then require a person to surrender a password or patttern has not yet been litigated. For now, better safe than sorry.
3. If I am stopped by the police and they begin to ask me questions about a crime, what should I do?
Always remember you have the right to remain silent, but you must tell the police you wish to remain silent and not answer any questions.
In some situations, the police may ask you to identify yourself.
If a police officer begins reading your Miranda warnings (see the next FAQ), it is a serious situation.
If you intentionally lie or mislead the police, you may be charged with additional offenses.
You always have the right to remain silent.
You have the right to call Richmond Criminal Law.
4. What are Miranda warnings?
If you are in custody and the police want to ask you questions, you must be advised of your rights, as stated in the case MIRANDA v. ARIZONA. These warnings advise you that:
You have the right to remain silent.
Any statement you make will be used against you.
You have the right to have a lawyer present when you are questioned.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before questioning begins.
Remember you must tell the police you want a lawyer, that you wish to remain silent, and do not make any further statement.
Tell the police you want to call Richmond Criminal Law.
5. How is bond set for cases?
After a person is arrested, they are typically taken before a magistrate. The magistrate can set bond, but if that amount is too high or if bond is not set, a hearing may be held before a judge and a request for bond may be made at that time. A decision made by a District or Juvenile judge may be appealed to the Circuit Court.
6. How to lawyers set fees?
I base my fee on the nature of the offense, the location in which the offense occurred, whether there has been serious injury to any party, and after a consideration of a person's past criminal involvement. I do offer free consultations for all criminal and traffic cases.
7. What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
A felony is a more serious offense punishable by a sentence of one year or more in a state correctional facility. A felony conviction also results in the loss of civil rights, such as voting, jury service, freedom to travel, and firearm possession.
A misdemeanor is less serious and punishable by a maximum sentence of 12 months in a local jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,500.00.
8. Should I plead guilty or not guilty?
This question can only be answered after a thorough discussion with your attorney and after your attorney has investigated the case. Decisions such as what plea to enter, whether to accept a plea bargain, and whether to have a jury trial should only be made after you have a full understanding of your situation.
9. How is punishment decided in felony cases?
If a felony case is heard by a judge, without a jury, that same judge will also impose the sentence. A judge may impose a suspended sentence and a period of probation. If a jury hears the case and returns a finding of guilt, that jury determines the sentence. A jury may not impose suspended sentence or place a person on probation.