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Criminal Defense

Being charged with a crime can be one of the most difficult experiences someone can go through.  The sooner you have an attorney who understands the criminal justice system involved in your criminal defense, the better.  

There are many complicated rules and procedures law enforcement officials must abide by in investigating a crime, and determining if there is enough evidence to charge a suspect with a crime.  If law enforcement officials have contacted you in the course of a criminal investigation, or you have been approached by law enforcement officials for any reason, it is important to know and understand your rights.  

We generally recommend that people abide by the following guidelines when interacting with the police:  

Do's & Don'ts: When You Get Arrested

The Do's

  • DO be polite and as courteous as possible to the police.  Do not give them any reason to find you threatening.  Do not give them the impression that you are hard to deal with or irritating. 
  • DO ask for the police officer's name and badge number, or read it off of his or her badge.  Try to remember it.  Try to get a good look at the officer's face so that you can identify him or her later by that method, if necessary.
  • DO, if you are arrested in your car, show the police officer your driver's license and registration information.  In other situations, such as when you are stopped while walking down the street, you cannot be arrested for the sole reason of refusing to provide information, including your name and address, to the police.
  • DO, if you are taken into custody, demand the right to have an attorney present before speaking to the police.
  • DO ask if you are under arrest.  If you are, you have the right to be told why.
  • DO clearly inform the police that you will not speak to them about anything without an attorney being present.
  • DO, as soon as you can, write down everything that happened during the course of your arrest so that you can use that writing to refresh your memory at a later date.
  • DO, if you are physically injured by the police during the course of your arrest, seek medical attention and inform your medical providers of the cause of your injuries.  Take photographs of your injuries as soon as possible.
  • DO remember that you do not need to answer ANY question that the police ask of you.  If you answer a question which at first seems harmless, be aware that it may later come back to haunt you.

The Don'ts

  • DON'T offer information to the police, no matter what tactics they use.
  • DON'T assume that the police have a search warrant just because they say they do.  If they say they have a search warrant, ask to see it.
  • DON'T get into an argument with the police, no matter how hard they may try to bait you into losing your temper.
  • DON'T initiate physical contact with the police, even if you mean them no harm. 
  • DON'T place your hands where the police cannot see them.
  • DON'T run away from a police officer if you see one (or more) approaching you.  Running away may give the police reason to suspect that you are hiding something from them, even if you totally innocent.
  • DON'T interfere with or obstruct the police.  If you do, you can face additional criminal charges.
  • DON'T resist arrest.  Even if you think you are innocent, the time to protest comes later.  If you resist arrest, you may face additional charges.
  • DON'T allow the police to listen in on any telephone call that you make to your lawyer once you have been arrested.  While the police may listen in on conversations to other individuals, they cannot listen to a conversation with your lawyer because it is protected by the attorney-client privilege.
  • DON'T speak to the police about anything before your attorney arrives and talks to you first.
  • DON'T agree to have your property searched, once you are arrested, without your attorney's advice.
  • DON'T provide the police with any information other than your name and address if you are arrested unless your attorney is present and approves. 
  • DON'T sign anything, no matter what it is, without an attorney being present.
  • DON'T say anything if your attorney instructs that you remain silent.  Let your attorney do the talking for you, no matter how hard it may be to resist the urge to speak.
  • DON'T agree to participate in a line-up without your attorney being present.
  • DON'T lie to your attorney, or to the police if you chose to talk to them. 

While facing criminal charges can be an isolating and frightening experience, remember that your attorney will be there to help you navigate and understand the process, ensure that your rights are not violated, and defend you.

When meeting with your attorney on a criminal matter, you should have the following information and documentation available to discuss with your attorney:


  • copies of all charges, supporting depositions, accusatory instruments, and other court papers related to your case in your possession.
  • the name, address, telephone and fax numbers of the court where your case is pending.
  • the names of all witnesses or potential witnesses in your case, including victims and co-defendants (if any).
  • any securing orders that have been issued (bail, released under probation supervision, remanded, etc.).
  • your previous criminal history, including any arrests which did not result in criminal convictions. 
  • the next date your case is scheduled for court action.
  • the name of the Judge presiding over your case.
  • the details of the events which led to the charges against you.
  • any recordings of conversations or events which are related to the charges against you, including videos, photographs, writings, and voice recordings.
  • names, addresses, telephone numbers of any potential alibi witnesses.
  • copies of arrest and/or search warrants, if any.
  • names of family members and friends where you can live.
  • your employment history, including your current employer's name and address. 
  • your personal background, including your health and family.