Annapolis and Baltimore Innocent-Until-Proven-Guilty Attorney
There are many ways you may come into contact with police concerning possible criminal charges in Maryland:
- A police officer may witness you committing a crime and take you into custody.
- A police officer may suspect that you committed a crime and question you about it.
- Someone may accuse you of a crime and police will contact you about the accusations.
- Your name may come up in an investigation and a police officer will contact you.
- You may receive a letter asking you to show up at a certain time and place to respond to authorities about certain charges.
If police believe there is enough evidence to prosecute you, they will take the necessary steps to begin the investigation and follow through with the prosecution. After the evidence is collected, they will typically arrest the individual and send the information to the state prosecutor or the federal prosecutor. The prosecutor's job is to initiate and prosecute the criminal case.
The investigation file that the police officer gives to the States Attorney should summarize events leading up to the arrest and provide details such as dates, times, locations and other specifics about the alleged crime. The prosecutor will then decide whether to go forward with the case as a misdemeanor and/or a felony and, if so, will file the appropriate complaint with the court in question, i.e. the district court, the state circuit court or the U.S. district court. In essence, the prosecutor decides whether the case should be pursued. Sometimes, a prosecutor will decline to proceed on all the charges the police officer sets forth. Other times, he or she will decide to broaden the prosecution.
You may think that talking to police and explaining your side of the charges will help you avoid arrest. However, talking to police cannot help you and it could result in you going to jail. Make no mistake: The state is not on your side.
By answering police questions, you may end up giving police the probable cause they need to arrest you. A good example of this is when a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI and asks if you had been drinking. If you answer, "I drank a couple of beers," you have just given the police officer reasonable cause to detain you and give you a breathalyzer test.
A police officer's job is to arrest you and collect evidence the state will need to prosecute you. It is essential to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer early in the process and before charges are filed if possible. In some cases, your attorney can persuade the prosecutor either not to file charges or to file less serious charges.
Things to remember if you find yourself in such as situation:
* Police want to get to you before you get to a lawyer because they want to get "evidence" from you.
* Any words or statements given to police can be manipulated to make you look guilty.
* Detectives, Agents & Police are trained to "paint" a situation and set of facts in their favor.
* It is very hard to tell an investigator you have nothing to say, but that is what you should do.
* When Police have you behind closed doors it can be very intimidating.
* Police may actually manipulate and ever stretch the truth to get you to say what they want.
If you are contacted by police, contact me, Maryland criminal defense attorney Jim Crawford, before you say anything. I am available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I offer a free initial consultation. To contact me, call 443-701-4525 or 866-635-0623.