Assert Your Rights And Protect Yourself
Your constitutional rights can be summed up simply as the right to be left alone by the government and its agents. The police are supposed to honor your rights. However, they do not want you to assert your rights. Incriminating statements are a key ingredient of most convictions. Television programs like NYPD Blue and The Closer are all about getting people to talk without lawyers, and you know what happens to those people. When police agents ask you to talk to them, all you need to do is politely say: “I do not want to talk to you and I want a lawyer.” This is asserting your Miranda v. Arizona constitutional rights.
Some police agents will honor that assertion of your rights. Others will do all they can to get you to give up your rights. They may pretend that they did not hear you and keep asking questions. They may act like what you said did not matter. They may try to make you think and feel that asserting your rights makes you look guilty. “Why do you need a lawyer?” They may try to bully you with their tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. They may try other tricks like saying, “OK you don’t want to talk about that, lets just talk about this.” The biggest trick is to get you to believe that you can talk your way out of being charged or arrested. They may say something like “We just need to ask you a few questions,” or “We can clear this all up if you will just answer a few questions and then you can go home.” You can not talk your way out of trouble. You can only talk your way into trouble. Let your lawyer do the talking. Lawyers can use certain procedures under which what they say can not be used against you.
The main problem is this, even if the police are well intentioned, if you talk to them and they misunderstand you or remember your statements incorrectly when they write their police reports, when it comes to court, it is your word against theirs as to what you said and who do you think the jury is most likely to believe? Police agents who try to trick you into waiving your rights are even more likely to misunderstand or incorrectly report your statements. After asserting your rights, you can ask “Am I under arrest? Can I leave? This puts them in the position of deciding if they have enough evidence to make an arrest. Much of the time, they need an incriminating statement from you to make an arrest based on probable cause or to make a case against you. Be patient, the passage of time works in your favor. If you are arrested do not talk without a lawyer. Simply and politely say, “I do not want to talk to you and I want a lawyer.”
Call us for a free telephone consultation
at 503-221-1425 or you can tell us about your case here.
If your loved one has been arrested, you can hire us to provide pre-charge representation and to go to the police station and intervene in any interrogation and assert your loved one’s rights so that they do not talk their way into trouble.
Our fees for efforts to prevent charges are much less than fees for defending charged cases. Remember, asserting your rights is one of the most right and legal things you can do. You are presumed innocent. The State Of Oregon must prove otherwise. Our Constitutional Rights are an integral part of our system of justice. Resist those who want to change our system of justice by taking away our rights. The defense or the assertion of the rights of any one of us is the defense or the assertion of the rights of all of us.
The Right to Remain Silent
Asserting your right to remain silent can not be used against you in any way. At trial, you have the right to testify on your own behalf and the right to have the jury told that if you do not testify, that decision cannot be held against you. Remain silent not just with the police:
Cell mates: Do not discuss your case with people you meet in jail. Many of them would be happy to help the police to get a better deal for themselves.
Jail phones: All calls are recorded and given to the DA. They can be used against you.
Visiting rooms: Conversations are not recorded but they can be overheard by others. Land
Line Telephone Phone: Records are routinely reviewed by police agents.
Cellular Phones: Records and information contained in the phones can provide even more evidence or intelligence to law enforcement investigators. The phone numbers, text messages, emails and photographs stored in the phone together with call records can all be used as evidence against you.
Phone calls from co-defendants and alleged victims: Often the police set up phone calls from co-defendants and alleged victims. They monitor and record the calls. The trick here is to get you to admit something to appease the co-defendant or alleged victim in an effort to talk your way out of trouble.
Computers and computer records: These can be seized and used as evidence. Just because you “erased” something does not mean that it can not be retrieved from your hard drive. This is particularly devastating in pornography sex crime investigations. Whatever you have written may be read and used against you unless it is attorney client correspondence. Still, the only remedy is to keep it out of evidence. Do not write what you would not want the police to know.
Family and friends: They have no obligation to talk to the police. They can not talk the police out of arresting you or taking you into custody. Their statements can be used against you.
The Right to be secure in your person, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures
Refuse all requests to search your property or possessions. Make the police get a search warrant. See if they have enough evidence to establish probable cause to get a search warrant. Again, police agents will attempt to coerce you to give up your rights and to consent to a search. They may say, “Well if you do not consent to a search, we are going to arrest you and wait for a warrant” or they may say “We are going to wait here until we get a warrant and you can not go in the house. Every time they ask for consent to search or for you to waive your right to remain silent simply say “ I do not consent to a search. I do not want to talk to you and I want a lawyer”
The Right to Counsel
Once you ask for a lawyer, the law requires the police to stop questioning you. Make no “deals” without a lawyer. Only the District Attorney can make a deal with you and it must be in writing. We once saw a District Attorney refuse to follow a “deal” a client made with the police before hiring us. It took a lot of time and money to straighten that out. Do not get caught in a power struggle between the police and the District Attorney. Do not sign a standard cooperation agreement. It is one sided and is not in your favor. Let the lawyer deal with the police and the District Attorney.
The Rights To Trial; To See Hear And Cross – Examine Or Question All Witnesses who testify Against You; To Have a Lawyer assist you; To subpoena witnesses and evidence; To Testify on you own behalf; To have the jury told if you decide not to testify that it cannot hold that decision against you, and To have the prosecution prove your guilt and all sentence enhancement facts beyond a reasonable doubt.
Never plead guilty or no contest and give up your trial rights unless you get the best possible change of plea and sentencing agreement you can in exchange. To get the best change of plea and sentencing agreement, you will need the services of an experienced attorney skilled in negotiating cases. We at James F. O’Rourke, Jr. And Associates achieve excellent results for our clients through negotiation and at sentencing hearings.
Call us for a free telephone consultation at 503-221-1425 or you can tell us about your case here.
Do not wait until you are charged to get an attorney. Besides protecting our
clients during the police investigation, we have persuaded District Attorneys not to prosecute certain cases during pre-charge negotiations based upon information we have developed through our own investigations. We protect our clients by asserting and protecting their rights. We shield them from the police. We conduct independent investigations. The police do not try to determine who really did the crime. They are satisfied if they can get enough evidence to charge one person. We attempt to locate and interview all of the witnesses in the case. In certain types of cases we are able to use medical, psychological, psychiatric or other types of evaluations to demonstrate that our client does not have the characteristics of a person who would commit the particular type of suspected crime. We use the best of the best.
We sometimes allow our clients to take polygraph examinations (lie detector tests). The polygraph does not work on everyone. If you take a polygraph test with a police polygrapher, you may “fail” even though you are telling the truth. If that happens you are stuck with the result. We hire the best of the best. If you do not pass a test with one of them, we simply forget about it. The result is protected by the attorney client privilege.
Statements to the police. We often allow our clients to talk to the police under our strict supervision. For your protection we insist that some of the interviews be recorded. Other interviews are given after entering into written agreements which guarantee your immunity from prosecution concerning the matters discussed during the interview. In cases where our client is going to be arrested, we arrange for the client to turn him or herself in and avoid being arrested in front of family, neighbors or coworkers. Often we are able to arrange for the client’s release even before the client is arrested.
Call us for a free telephone consultation at 503-221-1425 or you can tell us about your case here.
We Are Forever Thankful for All That Jim is Doing for Us.
We originally met and hired Jim of James O'Rourke & Associates to defend our son about ten years ago. At that time, our son received an MIP when he had been out with friends who were apparently drinking. We had never been faced with legal issues like this before and found the legal system to be quite daunting.(Read More Testimonials...)– S & T
They Cared About Me and My Future.
I was charged with a number of drug related crimes in Multnomah County. My first lawyer negotiated with the District Attorney's office and they came back with an offer that would have had me agree to go to away for a long prison term. I was shocked.(Read More Testimonials...)– S. S.
Thank You Mr. O'Rourke For All You Did. Mr. O'Rourke, Without your representation and well executed plan my son would likely have been sentenced to time in jail and not had the opportunity to experience the long-term in-house treatment program you arranged for and subsequently recommended to the judge. (Read More Testimonials...)– Lorraine B.
He Has Given Us Hope and Encouragement. James O'Rourke is the most skillful and compassionate attorney we have ever encountered in the legal system. Our son developed multiple serious medical conditions beginning in 2005. The frequent hospitalizations, seizures etc. rendered him unable to work. (Read More Testimonials...)– Mother and Father