The average person does not need the services of a criminal defense attorney on a regular basis. Moreover, the average person doesn’t really know that much about the criminal justice system. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to not realize that they need a criminal defense attorney in a situation that really calls for legal representation. Not recognizing that you need a criminal defense attorney can – and often does – lead to rights being violated. In an effort to prevent that from happening to you, an Omaha criminal defense attorney discusses five situations when you may not realize you need a criminal defense attorney.
- A search of your home. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution covers search and seizure. That amendment states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Although the 4th Amendment has been watered down by the courts over the years, the protection provided by the 4th Amendment remains strong where your home is concerned. Unless one of the few narrow exceptions applies, the police cannot search your home without a valid warrant. Consent is one of those exceptions – and is the most commonly used. People frequently consent to a search because they don’t know their rights and they are intimidated by the police. Even if you are certain that there is nothing incriminating in your home, contact a criminal defense attorney before consenting to a search. You never know what someone else could have left in your home nor how perfectly innocent items could be misconstrued by the police.
- A search of your office. People commonly make the same mistake at an officer or workplace, operating under the assumption that it isn’t their problem anyway unless they are the owner. The problem here is that you never know why the police want to search nor who the real target of the search is. Depending on your role in the business, you could end up being incriminated in a white-collar crime and allowing a search could provide the evidence needed to convict you. Once again, never consent to a search without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney.
- A “witness” interview. The police consider everyone a potential suspect when they are investigating a crime, no matter what they say to the contrary. In fact, it is perfectly legal for the police to lie when “interviewing” a suspect which makes it particularly foolish to rely on their assurance that you are not a suspect. The rule of thumb is that anytime the police want to talk to you, for any reason, consult with a criminal defense attorney before agreeing to the “interview.” The only exception to this rule is if you are the victim of crime.
- When the State is trying to confiscate assets. This one gets a bit complicated because most of the time forfeiture of assets is actually civil in nature; however, it stems from criminal activity or charges. Forfeiture laws vary by state. Some of them can be extremely slanted toward the State, allowing the forfeiture of assets based on the most tenuous of connection to criminal activity. If you receive notice that the State intends to pursue forfeiture of your assets, consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. He or she can point in the right direction.
- When you lose a criminal case. In the United States criminal justice system, a guilty verdict is far from the end of the line. Every defendant has an automatic right to appeal a guilty verdict; however, many defendants do not understand this right. Although it can get more complicated to appeal the farther up you go, an initial appeal should almost always be pursued – if for no other reason than to ensure that your trial was conducted properly and legally. If you lose at trial, advise the court that you wish to appeal. Doing o preserves your right to appeal. Then consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately as there are very strict deadlines involved in the appeals process.
Contact an Omaha Criminal Defense Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska, consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer at Petersen Law Office as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.