Know Your Rights
Do I Need to Talk to the Police?
Whatever the police lead you to believe, it is rarely advantageous to answer their questions about a crime. Whether you committed an offense or not, whether you believe you are a suspect or not, it is almost never advisable to provide statements about a crime outside of the presence of a criminal defense attorney.
What Types of Contact Can People Have with Law Enforcement?
Numerous situations exist that could result in your having a run-in with the law.
Police encounters are divided into three categories:
- Consensual Encounters: In a consensual encounter, you are simply talking to the police voluntarily, and you are free to leave. This type of contact begins with an officer approaching you and asking if you can answer a few questions. While you should always be polite, if the questions make you uncomfortable in any way, ask if you are free to leave and then explain that you do not have time to continue the encounter.
- Detentions: In a detention, the officer can stop you for a brief period to ask you questions. If you are initially stopped for a traffic violation, this is usually a detention. Nearly everyone experiences this type of encounter at some point in time. You are not free to leave during a detention. You may need to provide basic identifying information. However, you are still not required to provide any information that may be incriminating. Many arrests begin as detentions, and responding properly at this phase is extremely important in preserving your freedom. You will not have the right to an attorney during a detention. However, you can speak to Chris Welch today, allowing you to be ready to preserve your constitutional rights should you ever be in this type of situation.
- Arrest: Once you have been arrested, do not resist it in any way. Comply with the officer’s requests and treat them politely and with respect. However, as you will be advised, you have a right not to answer any questions until you have an attorney. It does not matter what the police say, do not allow interrogation to begin until you have a skilled attorney with you.
During any of the above encounters with police, before you allow them to conduct any kind of search, ask them if you have the right to refuse the search. If they say you can, it is usually in your best interest to refuse consent, even if they try to convince you otherwise. Be sure to be polite and respectful when declining a search.
Right to an Attorney
After an arrest, you have a constitutional right to consult with counsel during:
- Questioning while in police custody
- Commencement of formal proceedings
- All other critical stages of the proceedings, including lineups, jury selection, sentencing, trial, etc.
While you are in jail, you also have a right to privately consult with your attorney.
Knowing your rights and invoking them when appropriate can have a profound impact on your case. At Law Office of Christopher P. Welch, we are committed to providing top-quality legal services to protect your rights and freedoms.
“Mr. Welch took care of all my worries and concerns, while clearing my name.”- James D.
“He made us feel comfortable in his capable hands going through the worst situations our family has faced.”- Lynette D.
“Chris Welch is the best choice and Attorney ever!”- Janet O.