Important Legal Information
NEVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH OF YOUR HOME, YOUR CAR, OR YOUR PERSON
NEVER give the police permission to search your home, your car, or your person. You have a Constitutional Right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, but you give up that right if you give the police permission to search your home, your car, or your person. The police need probable cause to conduct a search or to get a search warrant. If there is no probable cause to conduct a search, the police must have your permission in order to search. Simply tell the police, “No, you cannot conduct a search.” If the police tell you, “We will just go get a warrant if you won’t consent,” make them get a search warrant. Do not consent to the search and call your Oklahoma defense lawyer immediately.
NEVER SPEAK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT YOUR OKLAHOMA DEFENSE ATTORNEY
NEVER speak to the police without your attorney present. Do not try to explain anything to the police. When the police want to talk to you, it is not for your own good. If you are a suspect, the police are not there to help you, they are there to find enough evidence to charge you with a crime. Frequently, the police will say, “Things will go better if you talk and help us out,” or “If you have nothing to hide, why do you want a lawyer?” “Why would an innocent person want a lawyer?” or “We can’t help you if you lawyer up.” Do not fall for these tactics. Remember, you are NOT required to talk to the police. Tell the police in clear terms, “I will not speak to you until my Oklahoma defense lawyer is present.” Do not sign anything and call your attorney immediately.
THE POLICE DO NOT HAVE TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH
The police can tell you they found your DNA at the crime scene, or that they have an eyewitness who identified you. The police are allowed to tell you these things, even when it is not true and they have no evidence against you. The police want you to confess. A confession makes their job easier and your Oklahoma criminal defense attorney’s job harder. Do not fall for these tactics. Say nothing to the police except, “I will not speak to you until my defense attorney is present.”
NEVER LIE TO YOUR OKLAHOMA DEFENSE ATTORNEY
It is important that you trust your attorney. Your attorney defends and protects you from the massive resources of the criminal justice system, whether you are guilty or innocent. Your lawyer cannot give you effective legal advice if you withhold information. Anything you tell your legal counsel is privileged. That means without your permission, your Oklahoma defense attorney will not and cannot reveal to anyone what you have told him. This rule applies to anything you tell your attorney after it has happened. However, if you tell your attorney about something illegal you plan to do in the future, that information is not protected from disclosure.
DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR CASE WITH ANYONE EXCEPT YOUR ATTORNEY
Do NOT discuss your case with anyone except your attorney. This is especially important if you are in jail. You do not know who is your friend and who is your enemy. Very often, the government will ask inmates to inform or “snitch” on other inmates in exchange for lighter sentences. Do not let your own words be used against you. They are admissible in court.
DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR CASE ON THE PHONE WHILE YOU ARE IN CUSTODY
If your loved one is in custody, do NOT discuss the case on the phone with him or her. The David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center in Tulsa (as well as many other Oklahoma jails) has sophisticated recording equipment that records EVERY phone conversation a person has while in custody. The conversations are stored as digital files, just like music on an iPod or MP3 player. Should your loved one’s case go to trial, the District Attorney’s Office will have copies of the phone conversations on a CD. If you or your loved one in custody said anything over the phone about the case, it can be used against him or her and it may be admissible in court.
MIRANDA: THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
“You have the right to remain silent. ANYTHING you say can be used against you in a court of law . . . .” Miranda warnings are given when there is “custodial interrogation.” This means you are in police custody and the police are asking you questions. Be sure that you do not make voluntary statements to the police. A voluntary statement is something you say to the police that was not in response to police questioning. Voluntary statements cannot be suppressed by your Oklahoma defense lawyer, even if the police have not read you the Miranda warnings. Remember, you do NOT have to talk to the police. For more information, check out our Oklahoma Arrest Survival Guide.
NEVER REPRESENT YOURSELF IN AN OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL CASE
Abraham Lincoln once said, “A lawyer who has himself as a client, has a fool for a lawyer.” Those same words are still true today. You should never choose to be your own attorney. The criminal justice system is complex and complicated. The government has unlimited resources that it can use to prosecute you. Eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Police interrogation tactics have led to false confessions. Lab mistakes and even lab fraud have sent innocent people to prison. Innocent facts can be twisted into something they are not. When you are charged with a crime, innocent or guilty, you are facing the awesome resources of the government. It is VITAL that you have an attorney who will fight for your rights.
THE RIGHT TO DEFENSE COUNSEL
In the 1963 landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, Abe Fortas, the attorney for James Earl Gideon, told the Supreme Court of the United States, “No man, however intelligent, can conduct his own defense adequately . . . . The aid of counsel is indispensable to a fair hearing.” The Supreme Court agreed, and now you are GUARANTEED the right to have an attorney represent you, even if you cannot afford one.
Contact us today if you need a Tulsa Oklahoma defense lawyer!