• Should I talk to the police before I hire an attorney?

    The short answer is No! Do not do it! The police would like nothing better than to wrap up their investigation with telling admissions from the person accused of a crime, and will try and convince you that it is in your best interest to tell your side of the story. That may or may not be true, but there is no way for you to be sure unless you first hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss your situation in private. Despite what the officers tell you, you can always go back AFTER getting legal advice to set the record straight. Often people explain what they think is a valid defense, but the lawyer finds himself boxed in by the statement and how it might differ from physical evidence in the case. The safest approach, short of explaining how you were in Canada when the crime took place, is to remain silent until you get more information about what the police are investigating.

  • They never read me my rights.

    Criminal defense lawyers often hear this complaint. The client means “Miranda Rights” to remain silent and that whatever you say can be used in court, etc. Before a person is placed under arrest the officer does not have to give the warning. Some routine questions such as identification and registration papers are not covered. And, most importantly, if the officers do not intend to interrogate you with a series of questions to find out what happened, they do not need to give the Miranda warnings. If the person was in custody and the officers did interrogate him without giving those warnings, or if the officers continued even after the person asked for a lawyer, it may be possible to suppress or throw out of court whatever the person said because his Miranda rights were violated.

  • What are the possible reasons a warrant was issued?

    The judge may issue an arrest warrant from the bench. There are several possible reasons this may happen. When the grand jury hands down an indictment and the clerk randomly assigns a criminal court judge to the case, the judge may consider the charges to be so serious that, instead of a summons to come to court for arraignment, the judge issues a bench warrant and sets a high bond. Violent crimes and DUI are the types of charges that suggest to the court that the defendant may be a danger to society or a flight risk.

  • What happens if I fail to appear in court?

    A second way that bench warrants are issued are when the court issued a summons to appear in court for arraignment and you fail to appear at the scheduled hearing. This could be because you did not receive mail at the address listed in the court file, or simply forgot the time and date of the hearing. In any event, the court considers you to be a flight risk and issues an arrest warrant. Of course failure to appear at later hearings will result in the same thing.

  • What happens if I violate my probation?

    Bench warrants are also issued for probation violations. The list of possible ways to violate probation seem endless, but here are some of the common examples: failure to pay the fine and court costs as agreed; a urine specimen being “dirty” or testing positive for drugs or alcohol; failure to submit to a urine test when ordered to do so; failure to complete community service; failure to enroll in treatment or programs as required by the court and its screening officer.

  • What is an active warrant?

    Not every warrant handed down by the court is actively pursued by the local law enforcement. There are hundreds of outstanding warrants from municipal court in Santa Fe, for example, and the police do not have the time or manpower to hunt down each defendant. Instead, those warrants may remain on the books for years until you are pulled over for a routine traffic stop and an ID check turns up the warrant for arrest. For warrants involving violence and drugs, the police may assign an officer to hunt down the defendant at known places of work or residence.

  • Should I hire a lawyer?

    Hiring a lawyer to represent you when you first appear before the court on the arrest warrant is highly recommended. Having a criminal defense lawyer present at the court hearing tells the judge that you are taking this case seriously and that you are not a flight risk. Also, the lawyer may convince the court to drop the warrant fee or at least to lower the bond for your release to a reasonable amount. The lawyer can explain why you may not have received notice in the first place. The lawyer can also gain information about your employment history, family situation and other factors that weigh in favor of early release from jail.

  • What does no contest mean?

    No contest makes some sense because, unlike a guilty plea where you admit guilt, you have no recollection but do not contest the officers’ account. Keep in mind a no contest plea means you will be found guilty the same as someone pleading guilty. So if you want to fight the case and try and get the charges dismissed at a later date, you should plead “not guilty.” When in doubt, plead not guilty to keep your options open.

    If you decide to plead no contest and the court therefore finds you guilty, you will face from 0 (probation) up to 364 days in jail. You are depending on the mercy of the court and without a lawyer you can’t get the charges dismissed or reduced. That being said, under these facts I don’t imagine a good judge giving you any jail time. Good luck tomorrow!

  • What if I fail my polygraph?

    Don’t take a police polygraph – those are generally not admissible and rigged to put pressure on an accused person to confess to a crime. If you hire a defense lawyer, you can take the polygraph in confidence and if you fail it will never be used against you.

  • What is the polygraph like?

    Sort of like what you see on TV. The lawyer and the polygraph-er work out in advance two or three relevant questions about the case and then quite a few questions are put in the script that have nothing to do with your guilt or innocence but help make the process valid. You answer the script three consecutive times to make sure your involuntary reactions are consistent each time.

  • What is 24/7 Bondsmen?

    The fastest way to get someone out of jail is to hire a bondsman. Typically they will charge ten percent of the bond as their fee but they may consider a payment plan. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to get people released. You won’t find a lawyer after hours. Bondsmen cannot help you if the judge has imposed no bond or a 100% cash only bond.

  • Can an attorney get a bond lowered?

    If you hire an attorney first, often the attorney can secure a 10% bond with the court, and you will get that money back at the end of the case so long as the defendant does not commit any new crimes or fails to appear at all court hearings

  • What is a property bond?

    A third option, which will also require your lawyer first, is to post a property bond. That does not cost anything but, if defendant runs, you could lose ownership of the property. The court will only take real property within the same state.

  • What a bail agent will need from me?

    Defendants Full Name, Prior Arrest information, Defendants Date of Birth, and Bond Amount