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Pre-Charging

     Are the police calling and leaving you messages? Did a detective leave his business card in your front door? Is someone threatening to call the police or file criminal charges against you? Did the police or federal agents execute a search warrant at your home? Are you being asked to take a lie detector test or provide a DNA sample? Have you been asked to come to police station to make a statement?

     IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS YOU NEED LEGAL HELP. DO NOT RETURN ANY PHONE CALLS, MAKE ANY STATEMENTS, AGREE TO SUBMIT TO A LIE DETECTOR TEST OR PROVIDE A DNA SAMPLE OR OTHER EVIDENCE WITHOUT CONSULTING WITH AN EXPERIENCED WISCONSIN CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY.

     It is rarely, if ever, a good idea to talk to the police. Most people confronted by police decide to talk to the police because they do want it to look like they have something to hide. They want to appear cooperative and complaint and not anger the officer. Many people think they can talk their way out of the situation.

     THE ONLY PERSON YOU SHOULD BE TALKING TO IS AN EXPERIENCED WISCONSIN CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY.

Consulting with a Wisconsin defense attorney before cooperating with
     law enforcement can provide the following benefits;
     • Pre-charging representation may save the expense of future attorneys’ fees
     • Provides an opportunity to begin investigating/defending the case
          before misdemeanor charges of felony charges are even filed
     • Provides an opportunity to negotiate bond/release conditions if
          misdemeanor charges or felony charges are filed
     • Provides an opportunity to convince the prosecutor not to file
          misdemeanor charges or felony charges

REMEMBER

1: You have a constitutional right to remain silent.
      The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects you from having to “be a witness against yourself.” This has been interpreted by the United States Supreme Court to mean that you do not have to speak when you are being questioned by the police, or anyone acting on behalf of the government. You have a constitutional right to remain silent. Your silence can never be used against you. This means that if you are charged and your case goes to trial, the District Attorney is not allowed to tell the jury that you refused to answer the officer’s questions.

2: You have a constitutional right to an attorney.
     The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees you the right to be represented by an attorney. If you are being interrogated by the police you have a right to ask for an attorney. Once you ask for an attorney the police are required to immediately stop all questions. They cannot continue to question you. If they do continue to question you any statements you make cannot be used against you.

3: You have a constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
     The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures. The police can only search you, your home, your car or your property if they have a warrant or your consent. You do not have to consent to a search. You are allowed to refuse to consent to a police search. If the police conduct a search without your consent or a warrant the Constitution requires the police to prove, in court, they had “probable cause” to believe that you had committed, or were about to commit, a crime.

4: A police officer can lie to you.
     Many police officers will tell you that things will go a lot easier for you if you cooperate. It is important to remember that the police are allowed to lie to you if they are trying to get you to talk.

5: Only a District Attorney or U.S. Attorney can make any promises concerning prosecution. No detective, police officer or any other law enforcement officer has the legal authority or power to make any promises regarding the prosecution of your case. They cannot promise to get you a “good deal” if you cooperate.

6: If you are in jail your telephone conversations are being recorded.
     If you are arrested pending filing of criminal charges remember that all telephone conversations are being recorded. This includes telephone conservations on jail pay phones and phones used in the visiting areas of the jail. The only conversations that are not subject to recording are conversations with your attorney. You should not discuss your case with other inmates in the jail. These people could be “snitches” for the police or the district attorney.

7: Lie detector tests are not admissible in court.
     Since September 1, 1981, the results of polygraph examinations or lie detector tests have not been permitted in criminal proceedings.

     No matter what a police officer tells you it is their job to gather as much evidence against you as possible. Their job is not to help prove your innocence. Their job is to collect enough evidence to guarantee a conviction against you in the future. Any statement you make will be used against you at trial. Even statements you believe support your innocence can and will be used against you.

“Don’t Talk to the Police” by Professor James Duane – video clip


Brabazon Law Office, LLC P.O. Box 11213 Green Bay, WI 54307-1213 Phone: (920) 494-1106 Fax: (920) 494-0501 E-Mail: brabazonlaw@msn.com

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