Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Criminal Law
Those accused of crimes have a number of rights guaranteed by the United States and State of Alabama Constitutions. These rights include:
• The right to remain silent in order to avoid self-incrimination;
• The right to competent legal representation;
• The right to reasonable bail:
• The right to a fair and public trial;
• The right to be informed of the charges against you;
• The right to be confronted with the witnesses against you and to gather witnesses of your own;
• As well as a number of other rights.
A criminal defendant is also presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means the prosecutor has the burden of proving (beyond a reasonable doubt) that you committed the criminal act(s) in question. This also means a defendant does not have to do anything or say anything to prove she/he is innocent.
What should I do if I have been arrested?
• Truthfully answer all questions about your identification (name, address, and birth date).
• You don't have to answer self-incriminating questions.
• Don't give the officers a hard time during the arrest process.
What should I do if I receive a call informing me that a family member or friend has been arrested?
When the police call you, gather as much information as possible about the arrest and write it down.
Useful questions include:
• What is the name, birth date, and social security number of the arrested person?
• What are the charges?
• What law enforcement agency made the arrest?
• Where is the arrested person being held?
• Has bail been set and, if so, what is the amount?
How do I get someone out of jail after an arrest?
If bail has been set, the only way to get the person out of jail is to pay the bond. A bail bond is similar to insurance; it means that the suspect agrees to appear at all subsequent legal proceedings. Failure to appear at legal proceedings can result in:
• Forfeiture of the bond;
• The issuance of a bench warrant, and
• The loss of subsequent bail privileges.
• If the judge believes there is a high risk, the defendant will flee, or if she/he has been charged with a serious crime like murder, bail may be denied.
Why should I hire a criminal defense attorney?
The US Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to an attorney. A competent criminal attorney is your best asset after being charged with a crime. M. Scott Yeager knows the laws and court processes relevant to your case, and can apply this knowledge to protect and maximize your legal interests.
The following is a brief summary of your rights and what you can expect. This should be used for informational purposes only. If you or someone you know is arrested, contact M. Scott Yeager immediately.
What are my rights when the police question me?
You have the right to remain silent. But, if you choose to speak, anything you say can be used against you in court. If you decide to answer questions, you may stop answering them at any time. You have the right to consult with an attorney before answering any questions, and to have an attorney present during questioning.
What happens after I am arrested?
The officers will transport you to some sort of detention facility (usually a jail or a police station), where you will be allowed to contact an attorney. You will be advised of the charges against you and you are entitled to a bond hearing within 24 hours.
You will appear before a judge who will conduct a bond hearing. At a bond hearing the judge determines whether you are a danger to the community or a flight risk. You can be released on bail (either cash or a bond) as security for your appearance in court, or you may be released on your own recognizance (your promise to come back to court when you are told).
M. Scott Yeager is experienced in criminal law, and can help you even if you did not call an attorney right away. It takes an attorney with the confidence and experience to properly deal with authorities when it comes to defending you against criminal charges. If you have been accused or charged with such a crime, please do not hesitate to contact The Yeager Law Firm, P.C. immediately. Criminal matters are not problems that will go away when ignored. Early intervention in criminal matters can be instrumental to a successful outcome in your case.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.