Q: What do I do if the police contact me about a criminal incident?
A: Immediately call a lawyer. Generally, it is ill advised to speak to law enforcement conducting an investigation without first consulting with an attorney. Anything you say or do during that discussion can be used against you in a court of law. That said, we advise most clients to be polite and respectful, but decline to talk without first consulting an attorney. Once you invoke your right to speak with an attorney, no further questions are legally permissible. Further, your failure to speak to law enforcement cannot later be used against you to raise an inference of guilt.
Q: A friend or family member has just been arrested, what should I do?
A: Call an attorney. An attorney will call the arresting agency to gather important information and invoke certain rights on behalf of the arrested individual. Time is of the essence. The most important issue at this time is to prevent the police from questioning the person arrested.
Q: Can law enforcement enter my house without a warrant?
A: The U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable search and seizures. Accordingly, as a general rule, law enforcement cannot enter your house without a search warrant; however, there are exceptions to the general rule, i.e. consent, emergency situations, hot pursuit and plain view. If law enforcement comes to your house, the best course of action is to remain inside the house and contact an attorney. If the police have a search warrant, they will be permitted to enter your home, with or without your consent.
Q: I have just been arrested, what should I do?
A: Be calm and respectful to the police officer. Insist on calling an attorney and do not answer any questions. Despite your efforts, you are not going to talk the police officer out of the arrest. Those statements can and usually are use against you at a later time.
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