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Criminal Law FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Law in Missouri

My firm answers some of the criminal law questions I hear most often:

 What is the purpose of a search warrant?

Police ask a judge for a search warrant when they want to look for specific evidence at a specific location. For example, if a police officer believes you have a stolen computer in your car trunk and you do not permit him to open the trunk, he will need to get a search warrant to look inside. A police officer must demonstrate probable cause of criminal activity to establish grounds for a warrant.

A search warrant applies only to the specific location and type of evidence described in the document. To search for additional evidence or to search another location, a new warrant is needed.

 What should I do if I am arrested?

If you are arrested, ask for an attorney and exercise your right to remain silent until you can confer with counsel. Prosecutors need evidence to prove your guilt and police officers are trained to get suspects to talk. Do not give them any help by admitting to any misconduct or providing any information that might be used against you later.

 What are my Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights refer to constitutional rights that suspects in custody possess under the Fifth Amendment. These include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If the police officer does not advise you of these rights and that statements you make might be used against you in court, evidence collected during that interrogation should be excluded at trial. 

 Can two states prosecute a crime that occurred in both states?

Yes. If a crime occurs in more than one state, prosecutors in each state can pursue charges. The offender may also face charges at the federal level.

 If I am innocent, why do I need a lawyer?

Unfortunately, the criminal justice system does not always work as it should. Law enforcement officers frequently fail to follow required procedure, depriving suspects of their rights and putting innocent individuals at risk. When you hire a lawyer, you ensure that a trained professional is at your side to assert your rights, collect evidence that counters arguments made by the prosecutor and press for a prompt dismissal.

 What should I expect from a criminal defense attorney?

When you hire a criminal defense attorney, he or she should fully explain the charges brought against you, your legal rights and your options for answering the charges. Your lawyer should develop a defense strategy tailored to the specifics of your case, and should answer your questions and concerns at all stages of your experience with the criminal justice system.

 How can I help my lawyer build a strong defense in my case?

A defense attorney is obligated to safeguard your rights and represent your interests zealously regardless of the circumstances associated with your case. No matter what evidence the authorities claim to have against you, communicating honestly with your lawyer will make it easier to develop an effective defense strategy.   

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