Swati Arora

Lifestyle - Writer
New Delhi - India

    The Only Thing Worse Than a Lawyer is not Having One.

    March 27, 2017

    Actually, one thing worse than not having a lawyer is not having a good one. In the legal profession, as in so many other things, experience matters. Especially, experience on both sides of the law. If they can put criminals away, they know how those who effectively defend them operate.

    If you have ever been arrested or found yourself in the middle of a criminal investigation, you know first-hand how stressful it can be. Here is some advice on what to do and, equally important, what not to do.

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    What to do when you think you are under arrest

    You’ve seen this on TV. Probably the worst thing you can do when arrested is talk about your situation with law enforcement officials. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. About the only safe things to say are, “Am I under arrest?” and “I want to talk to an attorney.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you are under arrest. The police need a reason to arrest a citizen, but will try to engage you in conversation in such a way as to get a reason to arrest you. By legal definition – one that every cop knows – arrest is that point at which you are no longer free to go. So, you should ask “Am I under arrest?” or “Am I free to go?”

    What to do if you are under arrest

    If you are indeed under arrest, the next thing you need is legal representation. It may feel impolite to refuse to engage the police in seemingly innocent conversation, but once you are under arrest, you need your lawyer to do all the talking for you.

    You have the right to an attorney such as Oberheiden Law Group and if you cannot afford one, the court will appoint one. The lawyer you get may not be very good, but he or she knows more than you do about the law and how the system works. Listen carefully to that person’s advice.

    Attorney-Client Privilege

    It is important to be completely open and honest with your attorney. You gain nothing by trying to fool them. If you don’t like your options, you can consider hiring another attorney. But don’t lie to them or withhold information. All that information is protected by attorney-client privilege and can’t be divulged by your lawyers. If they do, it is grounds for a mistrial.

    Common Mistakes

    Here are some other mistakes to avoid. Don’t discuss your case over the phone. Don’t talk about your case using email or social media of any kind. The government doesn’t wiretap everybody, but any information that exists from phone calls, text messages and internet use is available if they want it and can convince a judge to let them have it.

    Get a new phone, phone number, and email address. Always communicate as if the police were standing right behind you. In many cases, they are, if only figuratively. The effects of a careless email or text message can be devastating to your case. Don’t even discuss things with your spouse or best friend. It’s not a matter of trust; it’s a matter of who might be listening in.

    Aside from what you divulge to your lawyer, there are some areas that are more protected than others. Your medical records, for instance, are protected by doctor-patient privilege and can’t be accessed without a court order. Your privacy is also protected to some degree by employment laws.

    Before you inform your doctor or boss of your situation, discuss it with your attorney.

    Read Swati's other blog entries >

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