Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense
If you were recently arrested and charged with a crime, you are likely filled with questions. On this page, I’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions I receive from prospective clients and their families. After reading, you can contact the Law Office of Shane W. Surrette to ask your own questions during a free initial consultation.
Is it ever a good idea to speak to the police?
As a practical matter, you should never speak to the police. It is always appropriate to say, “thank you, but I don’t wish to speak to you, I want to speak to my lawyer.” Remember, anything you say can always be used against you at a later time.
What are field sobriety tests?
Field sobriety tests are divided-attention tasks that focus on a person’s ability to follow instructions and maintain balance at the same time. The three standard tests in Massachusetts are the nine-step walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
Should you take the breathalyzer test?
This really depends on how much you had to drink. There is no easy answer to this question, and your level will depend on when you consumed your last drink, what you had to eat and other factors involving the absorption rate of alcohol. As a practical matter, if you take the breathalyzer test and register a .08% or above, this is evidence of a per se violation, and if you refuse the test, you will lose your license for a period of time.
What is a felony under Massachusetts law?
Under Massachusetts law, a felony is any crime that carries with it a state prison sentence. Some offenses are felonies in and of themselves such as rape, robbery, home invasion, indecent assault and battery, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Other charges are felonies based upon the value of the certain property associated with the allegation. These include larceny with the value of the property being over $250, and malicious destruction of property, with the value of the property being over $250. Still, other violations are felonies based on the number of times you have previously been convicted of a similar offense. Such a situation would include being charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, 3rd offense.
The police never gave me Miranda warnings. What does that mean?
If you are in custody and the police are going to interrogate you before questioning commences the police must inform you of your Miranda rights. Such warnings include, “You have the right to remain silent” and “You have the right to an attorney.” If you are deemed to be in custody and the police are interrogating you, and they fail to give you Miranda warnings, any statements you make may not be used against you in the government’s case in chief.
If I have been charged with a crime and released by the court, why is it important not to get re-arrested during the pendency of the original case?
It is important not to get re-arrested because your bail could be revoked on the original charges and you could be held without bail for a period of time.
Where do I turn when I am up against the wall and I need someone to fight for my rights?
Call me, an attorney with nearly two decades of experience on both sides of the courtroom. I never leave my clients to deal with the authorities on their own. I will be with you from the start and will be by your side throughout the duration of your case.
Have Additional Questions? Ask Them During A Free Consultation.
From my office in Worcester, the Law Office of Shane W. Surrette serves clients in Worcester County and throughout the commonwealth. For knowledgeable and case-specific answers to your criminal defense questions, contact me to schedule a free consultation. Just call 774-364-4605 or reach out online.