If you’re under investigation by law enforcement or face any kind of criminal charges, protecting your rights is the top priority. To be able to protect them, you need to understand them.
Talking with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to learn everything you need to know about your rights. Even before you do that, you can learn about important rights by reading answers from attorney Elizabeth Selby to the Frequently Asked Questions below. For additional information, you may schedule a free consultation at Selby Law through the online contact form.
Often, individuals charged with a minor or first offense think it is easier (and costs less) just to plead guilty and pay a fine. That can be a serious mistake. While you ultimately may decide that is what you want to do, the best strategy is to talk with a criminal defense attorney before you make that decision. There is no charge for your first consultation at Selby Law, so you have nothing to lose by talking with attorney Elizabeth Selby.
Pleading guilty and paying a fine may cause problems for you down the line, either in your life or if you face additional charges in the future. Be safe, rather than sorry, and learn the full potential consequences of a guilty plea before you decide to enter one without representation by legal counsel.
Most criminal cases do not ever go to trial. That’s a commonly known fact.
A criminal case is more likely to end with a negotiated plea agreement or dismissal than go to trial. Because of that, some criminal defense attorneys have little (or even no) trial experience. However, even if you expect your case to end with a plea agreement, having a lawyer with trial experience is a substantial advantage.
A lawyer like Elizabeth Selby who has extensive criminal trial experience knows what it takes to prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial. It’s not a light burden of proof for the prosecutor. Because of that, a criminal defense attorney with trial experience and success often is more likely to be able to negotiate a dismissal or favorable plea by leveraging the threat of a trial during negotiations. When a prosecutor knows the attorney can (and will) take a case to trial if necessary (because she has successfully tried many criminal cases before), the prosecutor may be more flexible in plea negotiations.
You do not have an obligation to talk with the police at any time. You have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during any questioning. Those are your Constitutional rights. In Kentucky and Ohio, you do have to tell police your name, but that is all you need to tell them.
If police try to question you, the best strategy is to politely inform them that you wish to assert your Constitutional rights to remain silent and speak with an attorney. Law enforcement must advise you of these rights if they arrest you, but not before an arrest. But you have those rights all the time and can assert them under any circumstances.
You do not have to consent to any police search. Law enforcement has the right to pat down your outer clothing if they have a reasonable suspicion that you may be armed and dangerous. For any other search, police need a warrant to search or probable cause to conduct a warrantless search.
If the police have a warrant, you must allow them to search, but you should not affirmatively or explicitly consent to the search. They can search without a warrant only if they have probable cause. To emphasize: never consent to any kind of search, regardless of what the police say to you. Allow them to search if they have a warrant, but do not give them your affirmative consent.
If you are arrested, immediately assert your right to remain silent and ask to speak to a lawyer. Do not talk to the police under any circumstances.
Attorney Elizabeth Selby has 15 years of experience in criminal law. For over a decade, Elizabeth served as a public defender (public advocate) in Northern Kentucky. During that time, she represented defendants in virtually every type of criminal case. She has a record of success in criminal trials and negotiating plea agreements favorable to her clients.
Selby Law does not charge for your initial consultation. You may discuss your case with Elizabeth without making a commitment to hire her.