Becoming involved with the criminal justice system as an accused or even as a suspect has the potential for being a life altering experience, not only in the present but also in the future. Anytime criminal charges are brought against an individual, the charged individual faces the possibility of going to jail if convicted. If convicted of any criminal conduct, at the very least the convicted individual will suffer a monetary punishment and be ordered to pay a fine and court costs. In addition to the potential time spent in custody and the potential monetary consequences, depending on the nature of the crime of conviction and the potential sentence, there are potential collateral consequences which may impact your future life. These collateral consequences could include being prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, loss of your ability to work or hold public office, loss of your driving privileges, loss or suspension of your professional license, and negatively impact one's ability to apply for and participate in various governmental programs. At the very least, in most instances, the record of conviction would have some impact on the potential sentence you would face if in the future you are convicted of another criminal offense.
If you are charged with a criminal offense, we believe it to be in your best interest to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney concerning the charges, any potential defenses, and the potential consequences if you are convicted of what you have been charged with. Although you are likely to be charged a fee for the time spent in the consultation, this consultation session will help you to understand the procedural aspects of the case and any available alternatives. Depending on the charge faced, there may be diversionary programs which will result in the charges being disposed of without a conviction. Even if there are no diversionary programs available, an attorney may be able to file pretrial motions, such as a motion to suppress, which will result in the inability of the prosecution to go forward. The attorney would also be able to explain to you the alternatives to taking a matter to trial, and the potential sentencing exposure you would face if convicted.
Often, before the charges are actually filed, the investigating police department will request individuals come to the station voluntarily to answer questions, that individuals voluntarily agree to allow searches of cars or real estate, or that individuals agree to provide handwriting samples, hair samples, or even DNA samples. All too frequently we find that individuals do not understand they have the absolute right to decline such invitation. If you are asked to voluntarily participate in certain investigation activities, you have an absolute right to confer with an attorney before deciding whether or not to participate. If the investigating officers are able to obtain your voluntary consent to give a statement or your voluntary consent to allow a search to be conducted, the police are able to avoid having to give you warnings concerning your statement and are able to avoid the necessity of applying for and receiving a search warrant to conduct the search. Conferring with an experienced criminal defense attorney will enable you to understand your rights and to understand your options.
When the framers of the Constitution were discussing and debating the creation of the Bill of Rights for citizens of the United States, it was determined that in order to protect the citizens from overreaching law enforcement, it was appropriate to create the Fourth Amendment which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. The framers also believed it appropriate to establish a system where an accused individual could not be forced to incriminate himself or herself, and this became the Fifth Amendment.
If during the course of a criminal investigation the police violate an accused's Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights and the court so finds, the police misconduct is subject to the sanction of having the acquired evidence suppressed. To avoid potential Fourth or Fifth Amendment issues, it is not uncommon for police to ask a property owner's consent to conduct a search or to ask the focus of the investigation to appear voluntarily to give a statement. Conferring with an attorney about these types of requests is a right you have and a right which we believe you should choose to exercise.
In the criminal justice system of the United States, once you have been charged, if the police officer wants to question you, you must be told you have an absolute right to remain silent, that anything you say can and will be used against you, you have the right to the services of an attorney, that you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and if you are unable to avoid an attorney, an attorney will be appointed to represent you. You are not entitled to those same warnings if you are asked to voluntarily appear to "talk" to the police and that is why if you are extended such an invitation, your interests are best served through consulting with an attorney.
If you are the focus of a criminal investigation or if you have been criminally charged, you should consult with an attorney. When you seek out an attorney for the consultation, you should make sure the attorney you consult has criminal law experience. You should make sure that the attorney you are conferring with has experience in handling federal matters if the charges have been brought in the federal system, or has experience in state matters if the charges are brought in the state system. Although many of the procedures are substantially the same in both the state and federal systems, there are some important differences between the procedures followed in the two different jurisdictions.
The Rieders Travis Law Firm does handle criminal defense work across a wide spectrum of cases. The criminal defense services are primarily provided by Attorney Ron Travis who has over 40 years of criminal defense experience, practicing in both the state and federal systems. Mr. Travis is a graduate of the Santa Clara University Death Penalty College as well as the Clarence Darrow Death Penalty College. Mr. Travis has been certified as eligible to represent individuals in the state system who are facing the death penalty and has been appointed lead counsel in multiple potential death penalty cases in the federal system. So whether your potential criminal case involves a summary case such as a speeding ticket or allegedly harassing your neighbor, or a more complex case such as a drug offense or murder, the Rieders Travis Firm is available for consultation and also available to defend you as necessary.