F. A. Q.
Q: Do I need a lawyer even if I am innocent?
A: Every criminal defendant needs an attorney. The law is complicated, courts are imperfect, and it is possible for an innocent person to be convicted of a crime. A defense attorney ensures that your rights are not violated, that your evidence is presented correctly, and that errors are not allowed to lead to a miscarriage of justice.
Q: If I intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?
A: Your attorney can protect your rights, negotiate a better deal than you might be able to achieve on your own, and help you understand your options. A criminal defense attorney has knowledge and experience that can make the process less stressful for you and for your family, even if you know that you are guilty of the charges laid against you.
Q: What is a search warrant?
A: A search warrant is a paper signed by a judge, that allows the police to enter private property and search for particular items that they believe will provide evidence of a crime. The search warrant means that the judge believes that the police have good reason to believe they will find the evidence they expect. Police must usually have a warrant to search private property.
Q: What does it take to get a search warrant?
A: A judge will issue a search warrant after the police have convinced him or her that a crime has taken place and that evidence of the crime will be found in a particular place. In order to obtain a search warrant, police must provide evidence of the crime, either in the form of their own observations or through the evidence of a reliable witness.
Q: Do the police always need a warrant to conduct a search?
A: No. If you give your consent to a search, police may make that search without obtaining a warrant. Police may follow a person they are chasing into a building or search for such a person without a warrant. When arresting someone, police may search the person they are arresting and the immediate surroundings for weapons that might endanger the officers. An inventory search may be conducted when someone is taken to jail, and the person’s car may also be searched at that time. Police may conduct a search without a warrant if they have good reason to believe that someone is in danger or if they believe that evidence they have seen will be removed from the scene or destroyed.