Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a Lawyer’s Help If I Am Accused Of A Crime?
It is always in your best interest to consult a criminal defense lawyer as early as possible if you suspect you will be facing the criminal justice system. Whether or not you believe you have been wrongfully accused, an attorney will fight for your legal and constitutional rights and monitor the proceedings for legality and fairness. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for free legal counsel.
What Should I Do If I am arrested?
If the police arrest you, immediately ask to call an attorney. Do not say anything to the police that could incriminate you. Even if you are innocent and were in no way involved in the crime for which you have been arrested, ask for an attorney and do not speak to the police without a criminal defense attorney present.
Can the police lie to me when questioning me about a case?
It is frightening that the answer is YES. The police are allowed to tell you an outright lie in their attempt to get you to incriminate yourself. One of the most common lies is to say they have witnesses or other evidence when they do not, or to tell someone that their accomplices have already confessed so they should as well.
Do I have to let the police or anyone else search my house or car?
No. In most situations the police need either your consent or a search warrant to enter your house. Most police officers will ask your permission to search because it saves them a great deal of hassle in getting a search warrant. The sufficiency of any search warrant can later be tested to see if it was properly attained. However, if you give consent, any defects in procedure or evidence will probably not help your situation and the search will probably be allowed. Motor vehicles are a slightly different matter. Usually the police will be able to search your car if you are being arrested.
The alleged victim in my crime called me and asked me to apologize. Are the police behind this?
Probably. The police frequently use what is called a “pretext phone call” to try to get a confession over the phone. This usually occurs in alleged sexual assaults and consists of the alleged victim calling the alleged perpetrator and asking him to apologize or explain why he did something. Most of these phone calls are recorded and forwarded to the district attorney.
My spouse has been charged with a crime. Can I bond him/her out of jail?
Probably. Most people charged with a crime in Colorado are entitled to have a reasonable bond set in their case. To bond someone out of jail you must give the courts the amount of money equal to the bond. This money then serves as a guarantee that all court appearances will be made. Once the case is complete the money will be returned to the person who posted the bond. In serious cases it may be impossible for you to post the entire bond amount. If you are unable to post a cash bond in the amount needed you can consult a professional bail bondsman. These companies will charge you a premium of usually 10-15 % to bond a person out of jail. This money is their fee and you will not receive any of that money back once the case is complete. Depending on the amount of the bond and the nature of the case, the bondsman might ask for some form of collateral on the bond (often it is a lien on your house or property). Bondsmen do not represent you in a criminal case. They are not advocates, nor can they give you legal advice on your case. It is illegal for a bondsman to refer you to an attorney. One reason it is illegal for a bondsman to refer you to an attorney is that the bondsman may decide to revoke your bond at a later date and if you are using the lawyer he suggested it might be that your lawyer has a relationship with the bondsman. This means the attorney may have a conflict of interest and could not adequately be fair to you and the bondsman. It is better for you to have an attorney who is independent and does not owe any loyalty to your bondsman.
If I’m arrested, do the police have to ‘read me my rights’?
No. However, if they start questioning you but haven’t read you your rights, they can’t use anything you say as direct evidence against you at trial. It doesn’t matter whether an interrogation occurs in a jail or at the scene of a crime, on a busy downtown street, or in the middle of an open field: If you are in custody (deprived of your freedom of action in any significant way), the police must give a Miranda warning if they want to question you and use your answers as direct evidence at trial. If you are not in police custody, however, no Miranda warning is required. This exception most often comes up when the police stop someone on the street for questioning about a recent crime and the person blurts out a confession before the police have an opportunity to deliver the warning.
The police contacted me and requested I appear at the police station for an interview. Do I have to go?
No and whether you should respond depends on the individual situation. You should absolutely contact an attorney before agreeing to talk to the police.
The Police have either left me a voice mail or a business card requesting I call. Should I?
No, not without consulting an attorney. You should never be talking to the police without an attorney. Once you retain an attorney, the attorney will contact the police on your behalf.
Are the police allowed to question my child at school without my permission or without me being present?
Generally the police need a parent’s permission to speak to a juvenile. A juvenile is someone who is under the age of 18. However, if a parent is accused of committing a crime against the juvenile, the police may be able to question the child without the parent’s permission.
If a police officer serves me with a Promise to appear to bring my child to the police department for questioning, do I have to go and bring my child?
No and you should contact an attorney.