Frequently asked questions about criminal law
- What should I expect from a criminal defense attorney?
- A police officer stopped me and asked questions, but did not read me my Miranda rights. Is this legal?
- I was asked to go to the police station for questioning; Do I have to go?
- What if I was just charged with a misdemeanor charge. Can I just plead guilty?
- Can I go to jail if I am charged with a misdemeanor?
- If I am charged with damaging property or theft will I have to pay restitution?
- What if I do not complete the terms of my sentence?
What should I expect from a criminal defense attorney?
You should expect to be informed about the charge(s) against you and the possible defenses. No attorney can guarantee the outcome of your case. However, the experienced attorney’s at Foley Freeman will work to ensure that you understand the process, and can make an informed decision about your options.
A police officer stopped me and asked questions, but did not read me my Miranda rights. Is this legal?
Any officer has the right to ask you questions and you have the right to politely decline to answer. If the officer asks to see your driver’s license or proof of insurance, you may not refuse to provide those and then ‘plead the fifth,’ meaning you want to invoke your Fifth Amendment rights and not cooperate. When you sign the forms for accepting a driver’s license, you are giving the police permission to ask you for these documents upon request, and you are acknowledging that you will cooperate when asked.
If an officer plans to use your statements as evidence in a trial, they must read you the Miranda Rights. Often police stop and ask questions, which you can decline to answer. However, be aware that you may still be cited if an officer has probable cause to be believe you committed a crime.
I was asked to go to the police station for questioning; Do I have to go?
You can politely refuse go to the station and/or to answer questions. If you decline, and the police have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime, they may get a warrant for your arrest. It is highly suggested that before you go to a police station you hire an experienced attorney to be present with you.
What if I was just charged with a misdemeanor charge. Can I just plead guilty?
You can, but an experienced attorney knows options that may be available to you, that you might not be aware of. A conviction on a misdemeanor can have serious consequences, and you will have to report a conviction on all future job applications.
Can I go to jail if I am charged with a misdemeanor?
Yes. If you are charged with a misdemeanor you can be sentenced to jail time. It will depend many different things, such as prior record and the charged offense.
If I am charged with damaging property or theft will I have to pay restitution?
Maybe. If you do not agree to the amount sought by the prosecutor, they will file a motion for restitution. You are entitled to a hearing where the prosecutor must present evidence to prove the amount sought.
What if I do not complete the terms of my sentence?
The prosecuting attorney can file a motion for probation violation. A warrant for your arrest will likely be issued. If you plead, or are found guilty of a probation violation, any part of your sentence that was suspended can be imposed, including jail time and suspended fines.