The legal system is extremely complex and can leave anyone feeling bewildered. When you’re in trouble, the state’s employees aren’t going to help much, but we’re on your side. This page answers some important questions that may arise in your mind if you or someone close to you has been accused of a crime. Read on to find out what your rights are.
DO I NEED A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY?
If I am arrested, do I need an attorney?
Yes. It is always best to have an experienced advocate on your side. We can inform you of your options, assist you in going through all legal proceedings and protect your rights from being violated.
Can’t I just go into the courtroom and talk directly to the prosecutor?
It is possible to meet with the prosecutor but it is not advisable. The prosecutor’s job is to fight against you and your rights. The prosecutor will be glad to meet with you because he would rather not have to deal with an experienced criminal defense attorney who will ensure your best interests are served and protected. You may also inadvertently tell him things that he can use against you later. It is always best to have a well-informed attorney on your side who can look out for you. With us on your side, you are guaranteed the best results. We understand the criminal justice system and are dedicated to guiding our clients through it.
Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Before Seeking Help from Bail Bondsmen?
Taking the time to seek advice from an experienced attorney prior to posting bond may be advantageous because doing so may not be necessary in some cases, and an attorney may be able to negotiate the amount of bond in court.
When do I have the right to an attorney?
You can and should always exercise your right to an attorney and also your right to remain silent when being confronted by law enforcement.
The police want me to talk about a crime they think I committed. Should I comply?
Anything you say to law enforcement, cell mates, or even friends and family can potentially be used to incriminate you. Jail conversations are often recorded, so it is always best to remain silent.
When am I Free to Terminate Encounters with Police?
If an officer has reasonable suspicion that you were involved in a crime, he can detain you temporarily for questioning. Unless you are being detained, you are free to terminate an encounter with law enforcement. If you cannot determine whether or not it is appropriate for you to leave, ask if you are under arrest or otherwise detained. If you are not, you are free to leave and it is important that you do so and immediately call your attorney.
What if the police ask to search me, my car, or my possessions?
The police can always ask for your consent to search. If you give them permission, they can search and nothing good comes from this. It is always best to politely decline. It is your 4th Amendment Constitutional right to do so. In most instances, the police need to have a search warrant based upon probable cause in order to search if they do not have your consent. You can also invoke your right to counsel and tell them to contact your attorney.
If the police forget to read my rights when I am arrested, will the case be thrown out/dismissed?
When you are questioned in custody, the police are required to read you your rights and give you the opportunity to have an attorney present during questioning. However, the idea that the charges must be dismissed if they fail to do this is possible but overly-optimistic. Law Enforcement officers are only required to read you your rights before questioning if you are in a custodial environment.
CHOOSING AND HIRING A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
What Should I Consider When Calling and Comparing Criminal Defense Attorneys?
The main things to consider when choosing an attorney are their personality, level of experience, professionalism, responsiveness, and your comfort level with them. One of the best ways to find an attorney is by personal connection, such a recommendation from a friend or relative.
Is the public defender a real lawyer?
Yes, public defenders are real lawyers. However, they are typically overworked and underfunded. Private attorneys are able to dedicate more time and resources to each of their clients.
Can I change defense lawyers after I’ve hired one?
Yes. However, you may be required to pay your previous attorney the portion of fees that he or she has earned. Additionally, it may be necessary to file a continuance of your case so that the new attorney can get up to speed. It is also possible that the Prosecutor may oppose this delay, so the sooner that you switch attorneys, the better.
What type of law does your law firm practice?
The Swain Law Office is a law firm dedicated only to Criminal Defense. We handle felonies, misdemeanors, traffic offenses, DUI’s, drug offenses, PFI/PFS/Domestic Battery cases, Sex Offenses, Jessica’s Law cases, White Collar crimes, expungements and appeals.
What Areas do you practice in?
Attorney Sarah G. Swain is a lifetime member of the Kansas Bar Association and the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Sarah has handled cases all over the state of Kansas. She understands the intricacies of criminal defense and will put her experience and knowledge to work for you in an effort to avoid criminal conviction.
PRICING AND FEES
How Do Pricing and Fees Work?
Our fees are based on the severity of the charge and any criminal history. We accept all major credit cards. Contact us today to discuss your case and potential payment options. In comparing prices it is important to take into account that there is a wide range of quotes that you may receive on even a simple matter such as a first offense of driving under the influence (DUI).
Is the First Consultation Free?
Yes. Consultations can be in-person or over the phone and the initial consultation is free.
Why do your services cost more than some other attorneys I’ve talked to?
When you hire an attorney at The Swain Law Office, you are paying for experience, knowledge, and results. We are a small firm with a helpful, knowledgeable staff and a solid reputation in the courts. When you become our client, you become a part of a family. We maintain the personal attention and care for our clients. Some things are simply worth the extra money. Especially when you consider what is at stake.
THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP
What is “Attorney Client Privilege” and What Should I Tell My Lawyer?
Anything you say to an attorney, even during initial consultations, is protected by attorney-client privilege. It is protected and confidential information that cannot be used against you or even discussed with anyone else without your express permission. This applies both to in-person conversations and phone calls with your attorney. Furthermore, it is crucial that your attorney is well-informed of all information related to your case so that they are in the best position to obtain a good outcome for you.
LEGAL AND PRACTICAL QUESTIONS
How do I get someone out of jail?
In general, getting out of jail is accomplished by posting “bail.” The attorneys at The Swain Law Office may be able to help you get a bond reduced. You may also hire a bail bondsman to assist you in paying the bond if you cannot afford to on your own.
Generally, if you show up to court when you are supposed to after being let out of jail, the court will return your bail. However, if you do not show up, the court will keep your bail and most likely issue an arrest warrant for you, meaning you’ll probably end up back in jail.
If you have the chance to avoid getting a bail bond in order to get out of jail, it is often advisable to do so.
How do I find out if there is a warrant for my arrest?
The easiest way is to call the warrants division of the Sherriff’s Department of the county where the crime took place. You must know the person’s name and date of birth in order to get this information.
What do I do if there is a warrant out for my arrest?
Consult with your attorney to determine the best option for your personal situation.
How can I clear my record?
Expungement is the term used to describe the process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges. However, expunged records may still be used as a prior convictions during subsequent sentencing determinations.
In order to have your record expunged, you must be eligible to do so. In order to determine whether you are eligible and how to get your records expunged, it is best to consult with a criminal defense attorney.
How can your office assist me?
As an experienced, knowledgeable and qualified criminal defense firm, we can review your case, obtain your discovery, file appropriate motions, interview witnesses, enter into plea negotiations and represent you at a trial.
Has the attorney handled a case like mine before?
At The Swain Law Office, we have extensive experience in criminal defense work. Our firm has defended hundreds of clients in a wide variety of cases, including those involving drug crimes, marijuana possession, drunk driving, rape, criminal sodomy, burglary, robbery, arson, and murder. We provide aggressive criminal defense representation with extensive jury trial experience.
Why should my old criminal record matter? My old charges were a long time ago – they won’t count against me, will they?
At The Swain Law Office, we work hard to mitigate (lessen the negative effects) any previous criminal record. We understand that people have things from their past that they may not be proud of. However, it is important to tell your attorney about all of your previous criminal history so that we can give you an accurate prediction of what we can do for you and how your past will affect your present.