THE LAW OFFICES OF RANDALL SOUSA

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN FAIRFAX VA

AGGRESSIVE, PROFESSIONAL, AND AFFORDABLE CRIMINAL DEFENSE

571-354-6164

Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Explains Your Constitutional Rights

As soon as you are arrested by law enforcement, you are immediately placed at a decided disadvantage. Police officers are well-schooled in leveraging your uncertainty and fear against you to get you to give up your rights. But as a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I cannot overemphasize the importance of knowing your rights and asserting those rights. Knowing and asserting your rights can literally be the difference between winning and losing a criminal case. You MUST be prepared to know what to do before you are arrested, and that is why I have provided the information below. 

More Information on Your Constitutional Rights

Never Consent to Searches
Your Right to Remain Silent
Your Right to an Attorney

Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent

Fairfax criminal lawyerFirst, and perhaps most importantly, you must ALWAYS invoke your Fifth Amendment Right to Remain Silent. That means no matter what, you must never volunteer any statements or information, nor should you consent to any searches of your property. The only exception exists if the officer asks for your name and/or your government issued ID. (i.e. driver’s license, passport, etc). Before even thinking about speaking with law enforcement or consenting to a search, you should always consult with a Fairfax criminal lawyer first.

We have all heard the phrase “You have the right to remain silent…” When you hear a police officer read you your Miranda rights, it’s time to shut your mouth and say nothing more than “I don’t have anything to say until I get a lawyer.” Once you invoke your right to remain silent, the police cannot further interrogate you or attempt to elicit any statements from you without your attorney present. In other words, they must stop any interrogation immediately. You have a right to remain silent. Use it! You have the right to an attorney. Use it!

The Police Will Lie to You

Second, you must ALWAYS keep the following in mind: The police will lie to you! In fact, not only are they allowed to lie, they are encouraged to do so if they believe it will lead to the discovery of admissible, incriminating evidence. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, my hope is that by educating others on the proper techniques to use during future police encounters, they will avoid unintentionally relinquishing their rights. People always question why they shouldn’t speak with police officers even when they have done nothing wrong. The answer is that when a person voluntarily speaks to law enforcement after being arrested, charged, or even if merely under investigation, the results are almost never good.

Generally, what happens is that by simply trying to explain the situation so that an officer can understand that you did nothing wrong, you may unwittingly say something by mistake or out of confusion and that statement can and will be used against you in court. Make no mistake, the police will use deception and intimidation to try to get you to talk to them and give up your rights. During their training at the academy, police are taught how to leverage your desire to escape a negative situation against you. Remember: You have 4th and 5th Amendment rights. Use them!

In the section directly below, I provide some insight into the tricks police officers use to get you to unwittingly give up your rights.

Requests Which Are Disguised as Commands

You cannot be forced to take field sobriety tests or answer an officer’s questions, but law enforcement is trained to use certain words and tone of voice to make you believe that their request is actually a lawful order. Law enforcement is hoping that you think you are required to obey that order. When a police officer says “I’m going to need you to answer some questions” what they really are saying is “I’m hoping that you might be willing to answer some questions.” Just because the police are hoping that you to respond to their questions, it does not mean that you are required to or that you have to give up your right to remain silent.

Big Request/Little Request

Sometimes, police make requests seem more reasonable by first asking you to do something completely unreasonable. By way of example, a police officer might ask you to come into the police station to provide a formal statement. If you refuse (which a police officer knows you probably will), they might then ask you to simply provide an “informal” statement then and there. Remember, you must always invoke your 5th Amendment right to remain silent until after you have received the counsel of a Fairfax criminal lawyer.

Norm of Reciprocity

This is an age-old trick of law enforcement which normally goes like this: A police officer will try to convince you that if you provide them what they want (a confession or permission/consent to perform a warrantless search), that they will then give you what you want (i.e. let you go). When you think about what they are doing, however, it really makes no sense. I mean, why would the police want you to confess if they really intended to let you go? They wouldn’t!

What the police actually want is for you to incriminate yourself so that they can arrest you. Don’t fall for it! The police cannot fulfill promises about what will happen to you – they generally are not provided that kind of discretion. What they will do, however, is lie to you so that you believe they will actually let you go. Your statements CAN and WILL be used against you, and if you permit the police to perform a warrantless search, you waive your rights to privacy.

Fear/Intimidation

Being confronted by a police officer can be a frightening and nerve-wracking experience. Police officers are armed with handguns, batons, and Tasers. That is intimidating enough as it is. But then when you consider the prevalence of police brutality –  which, in large part, is perpetrated against completely innocent people – the thought of being confronted by law enforcement can become infinitely more frightening. Police training, police cars, and even police uniforms are designed to be intimidating. No matter what you do, remain calm during any police encounter you may have. Be mindful to not make sudden movements and always keep your hands in plain sight so that the officers know that you are not a threat. At the same time, however, you must also remember to invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney and avoid falling for their deceptive tactics.

Do Not Consent to Any Searches

Third, the Fourth Amendment provides us protection against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. If a police officer asks your permission to conduct a search, you can object by telling the officer “I do not consent to any searches.” An officer will likely conduct the search anyway, but that search may lack probable cause – in which case the fruits of that search will be inadmissible in court.

As explained in further detail in my article entitled “Never Consent to Searches,” once you consent to a search, your Fairfax criminal lawyer will not be allowed to argue that the police conducted the search without probable cause. Additionally, a police officer cannot detain you without having a reasonable suspicion that you may have been involved in criminal activity. Feel free to ask whether you are free to go. If they say “yes”, get the heck out of there! If they say “no,” ask to speak with your Fairfax criminal lawyer.

Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Explains What to Do if You Are Stopped for DUI

If you are stopped at a checkpoint or pulled over on suspicion of being DUI, the officer will likely ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. You are not required to take the test. However, refusing to take the test will result in a license suspension for one year. Likewise, you are not required to submit to any field sobriety test which, in actuality, are highly inaccurate. Only when you are arrested are you legally obligated to submit to a breathalyzer.

If a police officer asks if you’ve consumed any alcoholic beverages, you are not required to answer this question. Instead, you can respond by asking the officer why he/she would even ask you that question and politely inform the officer that you are not keen on cooperating with an investigation designed to have you wind up in handcuffs. Just remember: If you start getting the feeling that the police are accusing you of something, they are. Hire a Fairfax criminal lawyer to defend your rights and fight for you.

The long and short of it is this: Law enforcement (Fairfax Police, Virginia State Police, etc.) are ramping up their vigilance of DUI’s and other crimes. If you or a loved one has been arrest or charged with DUI or any other crime in Fairfax County, you need an aggressive, skilled, and affordable Fairfax Criminal Lawyer to protect your rights and assert any and all possible defenses. Call the Law Offices of Randall Sousa today for a free consultation with a Fairfax criminal lawyer. 571-354-6164 or 571-328-6825. If you are in custody, call toll-free at 800-875-6022 or email RandallSousa@iDefendVA.com.

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The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with affordable, professional, and aggressive criminal defense legal services. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, call us now for a Free Consultation.

Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.

Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney and DUI Lawyer Randall Sousa

Law Offices of Randall Sousa

3007 Williams Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031
Phone: 571-354-6164
Secondary phone: 571-328-6825
Email: randallsousa@idefendva.com

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Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Provides an Explanation of the Court Process

Fairfax criminal lawyerWhether your case is a felony or misdemeanor, your first appearance in court will be what is known as an arraignment. During this brief hearing, you will have opportunity to plead either guilty or not guilty to the charges against you. It is during this stage when prosecutors may submit their initial plea offer. It is also when your attorney will obtain documents such as police reports. Any good Fairfax criminal lawyer will use the time between arraignment and your next court date to familiarize themselves with the facts, review and identify possible defenses, and evaluate the likelihood of success on any potential motions. In felony cases, your next court appearance is usually the pretrial conference. It is at this stage where your Fairfax criminal lawyer and the prosecutor will exchange further information and determine whether they can reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Preliminary Hearing

At a preliminary hearing, the Court determines whether there is probable cause to believe that the person has committed the felony crime with which they have been charged. If probable cause is found, then the case is sent to the Grand Jury. Misdemeanor cases, on the other hand, do not get a preliminary hearing. Preliminary hearings are like mini trials. The Commonwealth will put forth evidence supporting the charges filed against the defendant and they have a very low burden of proof in order to justify charges.

If the case proceeds to the grand jury and it finds that there is probable cause for the charges, then an indictment will be issued and the case will move to Fairfax Circuit Court. During this entire time, it is crucial that your Fairfax criminal lawyer gather statements and information from witnesses so that they are locked into those statements. After an indictment is issued, the case will go to trial, but this will likely be a few months away. However, your Fairfax criminal lawyer will likely continue engaging in plea negotiations between the preliminary hearing and trial, and sometimes, these negotiations continue all throughout the trial.

Trial

At trial, the Commonwealth has the most stringent burden of proof under the law – they must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. After argument and evidence has been presented by both the prosecution and your Fairfax criminal lawyer, twelve jurors will decide whether the Commonwealth has satisfied their burden of proof. The jury will go into deliberations and will emerge with a verdict of either guilty or not guilty. It is the job of any good Fairfax criminal lawyer to hammer home the true meaning of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and argue that the Commonwealth has failed to meet this burden.

If the verdict is not guilty or if the case has been dismissed, the defendant will be free to leave. If there is a guilty verdict or plea, then the next stage of the case will be sentencing. What that sentence will be is entirely dependent upon the charges, the facts of the case, and the defendant’s criminal history.

Contact a Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Today

The criminal trial process is an exceptionally complicated maze of twists and turns. Yet, navigating that maze is infinitely easier and less stressful with the help of a knowledgeable Fairfax criminal lawyer. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, call the Law Offices of Randall Sousa now for a free consultation. 571-354-6164 or 571-328-6825. If you are in custody, call us toll-free at 800-875-6022.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantees us the rights against self-incrimination, to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to an attorney. Understanding your rights and having the ability to assert those rights are incredibly important step towards preventing law enforcement from ever taking advantage of you. Having the best Fairfax criminal lawyer you can get is the best first step towards successfully suppressing evidence or even having the entire case dismissed. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Fairfax County, you need an aggressive, knowledgeable, and passionate Fairfax criminal lawyer to fight for you. At the Law Offices of Randall Sousa, we understand the true meaning of aggressive, professional and affordable criminal defense. Call now for a free consultation. 571-354-6164

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Law Offices of Randall Sousa
2920 District Avenue Suite 524 Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: 571-354-6164