Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer’s Advice:
Make Sound Decisions
Thoughtful and experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers well understand that the decisions an individual suspected of a crime can severely undermine an attorney’s ability to successfully defend him. With the implications seemingly so dire, the moments immediately following a criminal investigation, an arrest or a summons can overwhelm you. Overcome with disorienting anxiety, some individuals are so desperate to relieve the pressure that they make errors in judgment, errors that can prove highly detrimental to their defense.
Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.
Resist the temptation to act on impulse. If you suspect that fear is crippling your ability to make solid decisions, seek out the advice of a friend or an attorney, if you know one. Ask the friend or attorney to help you select a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer that will navigate you through this ordeal.
Select the Right Lawyer
Choosing the right criminal attorney is critical. We have compiled a list of qualifications you should be looking for in a criminal defense lawyer.
If Arrested, Ask to Use the Telephone
Under G.L. c. 276, § 33A, an individual arrested and brought to the police station is entitled to access to a telephone within one hour of his detention. Avail yourself of this call at the first opportunity. Just being able to speak with a friend, relative or lawyer will help alleviate your feelings of anxiety, despair and isolation. The police will not normally limit you to a single phone call. Because these calls are often recorded, resist the temptation to discuss the allegations during these calls. More information on the Right to Use a Telephone.
If Arrested, Make Arrangements to Pay Bail and/or Clerk’s Fee
Before the police will release you, a Clerk Magistrate will determine what, if any, bail to place on you. Even if the Clerk Magistrate decides that bail is unnecessary, you will be assessed a $40.00 fee for the Clerk’s review and you must pay that fee before the police will release you. More information on bail and pre-trial release conditions.
Assert Your 5th and 6th Amendment Rights
If questioned by the police or FBI agents, assert your Fifth Amendment Right to Silence and Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel. Many, if not most, people are concerned that refusing to speak with law enforcement, or informing them that you will retain counsel, will only confirm your guilt, at least in their minds. While that remains a possibility, few people can successfully disabuse law enforcement of their guilt by speaking with the police. Worse, you often have no control over how the police or FBI will perceive, recall, or misrepresent your statements. Only by maintaining your silence can you prevent the police from twisting your statements into admissions of guilt. Furthermore, your assertion of your rights to silence and to counsel cannot be used against you in court.
It is not enough, according to U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision Berghuis vs. Thompkins, to simply remain passively silent in response to questioning – instead, you must affirmatively state that you are asserting your right to silence and to counsel. Once you have asserted these rights, law enforcement is required to cease further questioning. More Information on Miranda Rights.
Assert Your 4th Amendment Rights
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, together with Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, afford you the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police ask you for permission to search your home, person, belongings or motor vehicle, politely refuse. If you allow the police to search, you not only forfeit important rights, you forfeit control over your own residence, person, etc., and severely undermine your chances of successfully challenging the seizure of any evidence they discover.
Offer No Resistance to Police Executing a Search Warrant
Obviously, if the police have secured a search warrant, you can do little or nothing to prevent the search. In fact, attempting to interfere with the police officers or FBI agents as they carry out a search pursuant to a search warrant is a crime. If the police or the FBI show you a search warrant, step aside and permit them into your home, etc. If during this search the police or FBI agents are careless with your possessions, or even deliberately destructive, calmly bring it to the attention of the officer in charge. If he refuses to intervene, make an effort to determine the identities of the offending officers and take photographs of the conditions of the residence, motor vehicle, etc. after the police depart.
Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you need a Cambridge criminal attorney contact us at 617-492-0055 or use our online contact form to arrange a free in-office consultation. Attorney Kevin J. Mahoney will listen to you attentively and advise you honestly.