Criminal Law

Criminal Law

Can I be arrested for questioning?
No. Police can request you to accompany them to a police station for questioning but you are not required to go unless you have been arrested for an offense. It is not advisable to speak with the police until you have first spoken with your attorney. You should ask for a lawyer to be present during questioning. lawyers

Will I fingerprinted or have to be in a line-up?
If you are arrested, the police have the right to take your fingerprints and photographs.

What is non-testimonial evidence?
Even if not arrested, you may be required to provide a sample of your handwriting, to speak phrases associated with the offense or to have samples of your hair or saliva taken. You may insist that an attorney be present.

What is a Miranda warning?
A Miranda warning advises people of their constitutional right not to answer questions or to have an attorney present before answer any questions.

If I am not under arrest, do I have to answer a police officer`s questions?
No. Unless you are placed under arrest you are free to leave at any time. However, if a police officer stops you while you are walking, and asks you for identification, it is probably in your best interest to provide such information. The courts have allowed police officers to detain people for extended periods of time in an effort to determine the identity of the individual.

Must a police officer always advise a person of their Miranda rights before asking a question?
No. The Miranda warning is only in effect during a custodial interrogation. This means that the person being questioned is in custody or in an environment in which the person does not believe that he is free to leave.

If I am in custody, how do I assert my right to remain silent?
A suspect who has been arrested need only say I want to speak with an attorney or I have nothing to say now. If the police continue to question the suspect, the police have violated the suspect`s 5th Amendment rights. Anything that the suspect says after the violation is inadmissible as evidence in court.

Can I waive my Miranda rights?
Yes. If you have been arrested, and you have been given your Miranda warning, then anything that you say can and will be used against you in court.

But the police officer said that if I talked, he would help me out.
This is something police officers always say. Police officers have no control over what happens to you after you have been arrested. The determination of what you will be charged with, and how you will be sentenced, is up to the prosecutor and the presiding judge.criminal law

Criminal Justice Procedure.
Usually, after a person is arrested, they will see the Judge as soon as possible. If arrested during the night or on a weekend or holiday, soon as possible is usually the next business day. This is the Initial Appearance where you will be informed of the preliminary charge against you and any conditions of bail are set. If kept in jail, you have the right to a bail review hearing. The next step is the preliminary hearing where the State presents the formal charges against you and a summary of the evidence they intend to use. Generally, this is accomplished when the State files the trial information and minutes of testimony. After that, the Defendant has his arraignment where a plea of either not guilty or guilty is entered. If pleading guilty a sentencing date is set. If pleading not guilty, a trial date is set. Between the arraignment and trial, there is time for discovery and filing various motions. Please bargaining can also take place. If no plea bargain is reached, there will be a trial that generally results in either a not guilty or guilty verdict. If found guilty, there will be sentencing.

What is a plea bargain?
Settling a criminal case is usually called a plea bargain. It means that the prosecution and the defense come to an agreement to resolve the case. The case can be settled at several points during the process, from before it is charged all the way to the trial’s doorstep. Usually, however, the best bargain can be obtained earlier rather than later in the process. But usually doesn’t mean always. It is important to remember that plea bargains are not binding on the Court unless the Court agrees to ahead of time. Generally, the Court will follow the plea bargain even if it will not agree to do so ahead of time.

Author: Charles Michel

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