As a New York
criminal defense attorney in Westchester County I am always asked questions about the best way individuals
can protect themselves against a police investigation and a
criminal charge. Below are my top five:
1. Never talk to the police
- During a criminal investigation police officers or law enforcement will
try to interview a suspect, unusually not to get information but to build
a case against the suspect. Many suspects believe that they can talk their
way out of a charge but that is not the case. Police officers can lie
to a suspect during an investigation. Police usually make comments such
as "we already know the truth we just want to hear it from you"
or "work with me and I'll release you right now" or "I'll
put in a good word with the judge or DA if you just cooperate" or
"your friends already told us everything and they are blaming you,
tell us what you know". These are all traps to strengthen the government's
case and lead to your arrest.
The only thing you should tell the police is "I want a lawyer".
Repeat it several times if necessary.
Miranda rights only apply in a specific circumstances. For example in a
DWI case if you tell an officer on the side of a road you had been drinking
and consent to a field sobriety tests this will be used against you and
your Miranda rights were not violated.
Never consent to the police searching you, your car or your house –
"Consent" searches are valuable tools police officers used to
obtain evidence. Your consent waives the warrant requirement and helps
law enforcement build their case against you.
2. Hire the right lawyer
– As soon as possible hire a top
criminal defense lawyer. The best criminal defense lawyers are experienced, know the law
and aggressively protect your rights. Lawyers can file motions, conduct
discovery (investigate the facts of your case) and research your specific
legal issue to make every effort to have a criminal charge reduced or
3. Negotiate with the District Attorney or US Attorney's Office
– Your attorney's negotiations is one of the best ways to determine
the strength of the government's case. Your attorney should always
keep you informed about the status of negotiations and your options for
4. Hire an investigator or expert
– In some criminal actions a criminal defense investigator or expert
can provide information or opinions that are essential to the defense.
Experts usually include, DWI experts, psychological experts, sex offender
experts, accident reconstruction experts, ballistic experts and accounting
experts. Investigators can interview witnesses, obtain background information
on witnesses, find key witnesses and photograph crime scenes.
5. Consider a jury trial
– Every accused has a right to a jury trial. Your criminal defense
lawyer can advise if a jury trial is appropriate and the likelihood of
success after a jury trial.
Bonus Tip - Forget everything you have seen on TV or in the movies
– Television and movies about crimes, lawyers and the courts are
not accurate. Nothing gets resolved in an hour or two and you should not
compare your experiences to those on television.
Bonus Tip - Understand that not every case is the same
- In the law each case has a very specific set of facts and circumstances.
Not every case is the same. While in general it is acceptable to compare
cases the top criminal defense lawyers will also focus on your case to
obtain the best result.
Bonus Tip - Do not take the advice of anyone who is not totally familiar
with your case
– "Monday Morning" lawyering or advice will only fill
you with doubt and confusion. In order to give you good advice a person
must know everything about your case.
If you or a loved one is under investigation for a crime, has been taken
into custody, arrested or has a criminal charge pending in Court
contact the law firm of Riebling, Proto & Sachs for a free criminal defense consultation. Our attorneys have decades of
criminal defense experience. Call us today (914) 946-4808.