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Home  >  Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights

Right to Remain Silent: Silence is golden! Anytime the police question you regarding a criminal matter, you should exercise your right to remain silent and ask to speak with an attorney. Simply tell the officer in a polite and respectful manner that you wish to consult with an attorney before you answer any of his questions. While this is extremely important when you have been placed under arrest, it is equally important to follow this rule at the beginning stages of any investigation you may be under.

Right to an Attorney: You have the right to an attorney during all legal proceedings against you. You have the right to an attorney during any questioning process or investigation process prior to even being charged with a crime. The Court will appoint an attorney for defendants charged with crimes that cannot afford to hire one. At the end of the case you will probably be asked to pay all or part of the costs of that court appointed attorney depending upon your ability to pay.

Right to Jury Trial: You have the right to a trial by jurors from the community. At the trial, the defendant is presumed innocent and cannot be found guilty until the jurors unanimously have been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden of proof in our justice system.

Right to Confront Witnesses: A defendant has the right to confront, otherwise known as cross examination, all witnesses testifying against them. This is the defendant’s turn to bring out points in your favor and expose any issues of credibility that a particular witness may have.

The following rules must never be ignored; your liberty depends on it!

  • Do not talk with anyone from Law Enforcement. Not answering a police officer’s questions is your Constitutional right!
  • Do not agree to any search, or turn over anything to Law Enforcement.
  • Do not agree to perform field sobriety tests.
  • Do not talk about your case with your family, friends, or anyone in jail. What you tell them can, and probably will be used against you.
  • Do not represent yourself. The Prosecutor on your case is a very experienced attorney who knows the law better than you do.
  • Do not go to court without first talking to an attorney who specializes in criminal law.
  • Talk with your attorney and tell the attorney everything about your case. What you tell your attorney is confidential and cannot be used against you.
  • Do not sign anything without talking to your lawyer.
  • Do not go to court before coming into our office for your FREE CONSULTATION!

Suspect Rights FAQs

What constitutes probable cause?

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitutions protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure unless there is probable cause to do so. Police officers must have probable cause before they can make an arrest or conduct a search on a person, in a vehicle or in a house. Officers can generally have probable cause if they find evidence or have a good reason to believe a crime has been committed. For example, if an individual smells of drugs, a police officer would have probable cause for searching the individual. If it can be proven that an officer made a search or arrest without probable cause, any evidence found will not be permissible in court. The attorneys of the James Powderly are dedicated to protecting your rights throughout the entire legal process.

If I was not read my Miranda Rights, can I still be convicted?

The Miranda Rights outline citizens’ rights to remain silent and access an attorney during the process of arrest. By law, it is only required that an officer read a suspect their rights when they plan to interrogate the suspect. With that said, if an officer does not read you your rights and then goes on to interrogate you, what is said during the arrest and interrogation will not be permissible evidence in court. If you feel that your rights have been violated during the criminal process, contact an attorney at the James Powderly.

Is it possible to have my charges cleared from my criminal record?

In the state of Massachusetts, it is possible for an individual to have criminal charges expunged from their record, but it is only granted in very rare and specific cases. Fortunately, there is another option. Sealing your criminal record prevents most people and organizations from being able to access and view your record. A sealed record would not show up during any routine employment background checks and could only be viewed by law enforcement agencies and officials. Sealing your record does not eliminate your criminal charges altogether, but it does limit who will see the information. The waiting period for sealing your record depends on the circumstances and outcomes of your case. For example, individuals whose convictions are dismissed or acquitted can seal their records immediately, while those who are convicted of certain crimes can file for sealing after a certain period of time. To learn more about the record sealing process, contact the attorneys of the James Powderly today.