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When you’re convicted of a crime or pending an investigation, it may seem like you rights are being stripped away. It can be a stressful time if you don’t know what to expect and how you can prepare for the future. Your lawyer wants to help you feel confident in the course of action you’re taking, and that includes educating you about your rights moving forward.
In addition to asking you questions about what happened, there is important information that your attorney will share with you information about your legal rights. There are certain things you need to do, or not do, to avoid waiving your legal rights and compromising your defense.
The right to remain silent
Upon arrest, you have a constitutional right to remain silent and if you forfeit that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in court. It’s critical not to speak to anyone about the charges against you. Anything you say to family or friends during this time could end up being presented in court if those people are asked to testify. If you’re worried about how to approach this topic around friends, here are a few responses you can turn to if you are asked about the case:
- “My lawyer said I’m not allowed to talk about the case to anyone”
- “If I tell you anything, the prosecution could subpoena you, and you will have to testify.”
- “If you don’t believe me, call my lawyer and ask.”
Your right to attorney-client privilege
Everything that you talk about with your attorney is confidential and will remain between the two of you. While nothing you tell your lawyer in private will be revealed, this only applies to situations when the two of you are speaking privately. If a third-party is present or someone else overhears the information legally, then that information may no longer be confidential. Similarly, if you are communicating with your lawyer from jail, be cautious of other people listening in on those phone calls. If possible, request a line that is reserved for confidential attorney-client conversations.
Your right to refuse unlawful search and seizure
If you’re part of an ongoing investigation and haven’t been arrested yet, at some point, the police may search your home or workplace in an attempt to find evidence. To do this, they need a search warrant signed by a judge. If they have a warrant, by law, you must allow them to enter. If they do not have a warrant and you do not consent to a search, tell them that and them contact your lawyer as soon as possible.
Once your lawyer has explained your rights, now is the time for you to ask any clarifying questions you have about what they’ve told you. Ask questions about the specifics of your case and what you should expect moving forward.
It can be tempting to search online for information about similar cases to see what to expect. However, advice on the internet is not reliable and should not be used as a replacement for advice from your attorney.
If you are facing criminal charges in Houston and need a criminal defense attorney, find out how Christopher T. Gore can help represent your case.