Criminal Defense FAQ
Answers from an Orange County Criminal Lawyer
Am I required to allow law enforcement to search my house or my car?
No. You are never obligated to consent to a police search. Generally speaking,
it isn't wise to let the police search your car or home. However,
the police may attempt to detain you until they obtain a search warrant.
Don't be intimidated. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement
may search your car of home without a warrant- but only if they have "probable
cause" to do so. If you believe that your home or car was searched
illegally, contact the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman today.
Are the police required to read my rights when I'm arrested?
No. law enforcement is not legally required to "read your rights"
at the time of your arrest. The Miranda Warning is only required if law
enforcement plans on using your statements against you in court. Additionally,
the warning is only required if you are in police custody. If police want
to ask you questions that might elicit incriminating answers, they will
probably read the Miranda Warning. Consult a criminal defense attorney
before speaking with law enforcement.
What happens if the police ask for a statement and I refuse? Will I be
arrested for refusing to cooperate?
You cannot be arrested or charged with a crime for exercising your right
to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment allows you to remain silent and
avoid giving testimony against yourself. If a police officer tries to
intimidate you into waiving your rights, do not believe him / her and
speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Judges cannot set a high bail
for not cooperating with law enforcement, but some officers try to make
you think that you are required to give a statement. In reality, officers
may try to scare you into making a statement so that it will be easier
to obtain a conviction in court.
What is a Grand Jury and how will it affect my case?
A grand jury is a collection of individuals used to determine whether or
not there is enough evidence to take a case to trial. For example: If
you were arrested for a drug crime, a grand jury might be used to figure
out whether or not the prosecution has a legitimate case against you.
The grand jury will base its determination on witness testimony, documents,
and other evidence. At the end of the proceedings, the jury will decide
whether or not the case will actually go to trial. If there is not enough
evidence to conduct a trial, your case will not move forward.
How does the prosecution determine the charges I will face?
Typically, the prosecution pursues charges with enough evidence to back
them up. In other words, the prosecution will look for a legally sound
case. If a case contains some kind of inherent flaw, it probably isn't
worth pursuing. Then, prosecuting attorneys decide whether or not there
is enough evident to pursue a conviction. If there isn't, the case
will probably be dropped or another charge will be considered. "Enough"
evidence is determined by the quantity of the evidence held against you
and the quality. For example, if the prosecuting attorney has a large
quantity of questionable evidence, he / she probably won't pursue
that particular case.