Being charged with a crime is a life-altering event. If you, or a loved one, has been charged with a crime, there are some steps you need to take to protect your constitutional rights and legal interests.
First and foremost, you must seek out competent representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you live in or around Richmond, Virginia, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Richmond can provide comprehensive representation to people charged with crimes.
The Right to Remain Silent
As a person charged with a crime, you have an absolute constitutional right to remain silent. You do not have to consent to police questioning. In fact, before retaining an attorney, you should not answer any questions put forth by the police.
The reality is that a police officer may make what seem like promises to you for cooperating. The investigating officer may proclaim that you will receive preferential treatment in the criminal justice system if you answer questions and cooperate with the police.
Ultimately, your attorney may permit at least some limited questioning of you, under a very specific set of guidelines. Your attorney will be present at such questioning if it ever does occur, which is also one of your constitutional rights.
Negotiating with the Prosecuting Attorney
Ultimately, after you retain legal counsel, the process of negotiating a plea agreement may commence with the prosecuting attorney. This is yet another element of the criminal justice process that you cannot undertake on your behalf. Only an experienced, skilled criminal defense lawyer is in a position to adequately negotiate a potential plea agreement in your best interests.