What are my rights against a criminal charge? 46 Answers as of June 06, 2011

Last night I blew off a home made salute containing salt, pepper and sugar. The cops were called and ended up talking to my dad who admitted I did it. Bomb squad was called. They want to know who sold me the salute. They gave me an ultimatum of working with them or it’s a felony and jail. What are my options?

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Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
If you have been charged with a crime, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. If you face any jail time, and you can't afford to hire your own attorney, the court will appoint an attorney to represent you. You usually must submit a financial affidavit setting forth your financial condition.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 6/6/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I would recommend that you retain an experienced defense attorney to assist you with this matter. Ideally, you should try obtain council as soon as possible to ensure you that do not do anything that will potentially incriminate yourself even further. If you cannot afford to retain an attorney, you have a right to request an attorney to represent you if the police ever arrest you and charge you with any offense. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are ultimately charged, the people will need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. You have your full slate of constitutional rights.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/6/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
You have three options:1. You can cooperate with the police and hope that they do not charge you with a felony offense. You may cooperate and still be charged.2. Don't say anything, keep your mouth shut and see if they arrest you and tehy probably will.3. Consult with an attorney and have them contact the police on your behalf to see what their intentions may be and what my possibly be done to protect you.In the days of homeland security, this could end up being a rather severe problem.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/6/2011
The Grigsby Firm
The Grigsby Firm | Sherlock Grigsby
Get a lawyer immediately and do not make any further statements to anyone. As potential criminal charges are pending you definitely want to protect your rights and liberty interests as well. Do not speak with anyone else about this until you have retained a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
Replied: 6/3/2011
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
You have a right to exercise your Fifth Amendment Rights to remain silent. If arrested, you should insist on having a lawyer present with you, and keep your mouth shut! The police may charge you with an offense, however, they must be able to prove you actually set off the device. I seriously doubt you would get jail time for this offense, especially if it is your first offense, but would urge you to retain counsel right away.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/3/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Your issue requires more conversation then just a quick answer by email. You may be in trouble; you may not. I just finished handling a very involved 4th of July cannon case (deemed to be an explosive device by the DA) in which a person was injured. There is some interesting case law on what is or is not a bomb, so we need to talk. If what you have done is some type of crime, the DA could bring several charges if others were around, in addition to possession and or manufacturing an explosive device.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Your best option is to call a local experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you and work things out with the police. Everyone these days is worried about terrorism and any explosion brings those things up in people's minds. It sounds like a somewhat innocent episode and it should not constitute a felony if the substances were common salt, pepper and sugar. Remember, they have to prove their charges, so don't give them any statements whatsoever and calla lawyer today. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You need to retain counsel ASAP so that you can have a detailed consultation and your lawyer can deal with the district attorney for any cooperation deal, because the cops really have no say. This is a very sensitive matter and you are facing criminal charges. You need to understand that you need to retain counsel now. Call us if you would like to discuss it with me further.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Well, obviously you can work with them, but there are no guarantees. The decision to press charges or not press charges is left to the prosecutor. Unless the police promise not to even refer the case to the prosecutor, you don't know what will happen. Even if the police make such a promise, the Supreme Court has ruled time and again that police are allowed to lie to suspects in an effort to induce confessions. Bottom line: the police are allowed to lie to you. The alternative is that you stop talking, invoke your right to silence, and request an attorney. Then they cannot speak to you further, and you are no longer in danger of making self-incriminating statements. However, if your dad already told them what happened, he has just become the State's star witness against you and it may be too late. Assuming you and your father get along (i.e. you are not threatening or tampering with a witness), you should ask him exactly what he told the police. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Cops generally cannot make deals re prosecution. That is a DA function. Get any agreement in writing and see an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    After thanking your dad for ratting on you, I guess you can either work with the police or say no thanks (and possibly pick up a charge). The thing I'm unclear on is did you make the salute yourself or did someone else make it and sold it to you... obviously if you made it yourself (which I thought you did by your question, but maybe I've got that wrong), then you definitely don't want to "work" with the cops, since you'd be informing on yourself, which makes no sense at all (and wouldn't interest the cops anyway). Even if you bought the thing from someone, you would want to think long and hard about being an informant since you typically have to do more for the police then they're going to do for you. Plus you usually end up ratting on your friends which can make a person unpopular. Best option is usually to lawyer up and stop speaking to law enforcement.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    In Connecticut, you manufactured an explosive device, which is a Class B felony. if arrested, you can face jail time. it is not illegal and it is common for the police to use a potential criminal charge as leverage to obtain information.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    I never recommend talking with the cops. What proof do they have, any evidence besides noise and statement from father? It is a serious crime, but unless you had other things not sure they can prove anything. Any thing you can can be used against you and cops don't make deals so they can lie about that.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    There is an offense for creating an explosive device, and you could be charged criminally. It appears from your question that there is a lot of information which is not contained in your question. You should not provide this information to anyone else but your attorney that you've hired to represent you in this matter. Reliable advice cannot be provided without more information. Anything you say in this forum could be used against you at a later trial. My best advice is to immediately seek to hire an attorney to discuss this matter and to help you make an informed decision. I hope this was helpful
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, it is established by case law that law enforcement has no obligation to tell you the truth. Alleged deals not t o prosecute made by law enforcement are unenforceable and rarely followed. The fact is, in most cases, you will be charged even if you cooperate. As a result, you would be wise to remain silent and contact an attorney. Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor which may involve an exchange of information in a controlled environment.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Corey D. Bryan
    Law Office of Corey D. Bryan | Corey D. Bryan
    Get an attorney involved as soon as possible; I would not speak to them unless you have an attorney present. They will tell you if you speak to them it will help you in the future but the only real way it will help is if you get an attorney to negotiate terms whereas they will be forced to abide by their agreement with you.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    You should certainly consider hiring a criminal attorney in your area whether or not you intend to cooperate with police. It is important to make sure that you fully understand the terms and potential ramifications of any potential plea deal before accepting it. It may be the case that the police really do not have standing in this matter and that you can refuse any deals altogether but it would not be safe to assume this without first speaking to an attorney. Also, if you intend to fight any potential charges in court then you will need an attorney to defend you.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Steven C. Bullock
    Regardless where you live, it is the duty and responsibility of the prosecuting authority to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt should you elect to proceed to trial. If you "work" with the police, what do you get for such assistance?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Police often present you with a choice of cooperate or else. Often they use this tactic what their investigation has reached a dead end. Do not make any statements to the police. If they continue to call you about it, you should hire a lawyer to deal with them.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You should hire an attorney to try to negotiate the charges down to a misdemeanor.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Hire a lawyer, have the lawyer work with the police and see what can be worked out. If you are under 18 it is a juvenile case and should be fairly easy to work out if you do get charged.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    I need more information to be able to provide you with any meaningful advice. I am not sure what a salute is? How old are you? Where did this incident occur? Generally speaking, I would advice you not to speak with the police or make any statement whatsoever. If the police are going to charge you with a felony they may choose to do so whether you speak or not, speaking may simply make the conviction easier. The police can not make you speak, you have the right to remain silent and you should use it. Do not talk if you want to walk! Please feel free to contact me personally to discuss your situation.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would recommend that you retain a criminal lawyer to advise you as to your rights and options and to possibly intercede with the police for you. Talk with a criminal attorney ASAP! Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    As a citizen of the United States, you have all the constitutional rights of any other citizen. That includes the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, the against self incrimination, the right to a jury trial, etc. Without more facts, it is difficult to provide any specific answers. Contacting a lawyer may be a good idea.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    Your first option is to get a lawyer. I imagine you are a young guy and you don't need to be starting life off with a felony conviction. Remember that the police are allowed to lie to you when they are trying to get information from you. A good criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate your legal position and negotiate with the police on your behalf.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    According to your summary you blew off a cherry bomb or M-80 firecracker and the police were called. Your father admitted that you blew off the salute and the bomb squad was called. The police told you that if you did not tell them who sold it to you they would charge you with a felony and you will go to jail. First, let me say that such high powered firecrackers are illegal and dangerous and have been responsible for thousands of injuries. Second, your father was unwise to talk to the police, he should have said "talk to our lawyer." Like many parents they believe that the police are there to help you and will believe what they tell them. They often turn their children in and regret it later when they have to spend thousands on a lawyer to fight the charges. You were unwise to be fooling around with cherry bombs, and even more so if you made it yourself McGuiver. The formula you give sounds like a home-made bomb and in these days of terrorist acts bombs are taken very seriously. The police are lying to you about going to jail unless you have a bad prior record you will most likely be allowed to plead to a misdemeanor or Disorderly Conduct Violation and get probation or a fine. I suggest that you retain an experienced criminal attorney to represent you and try to get the case dismissed since your father probably did not see you set it off and there is no admission by you or real proof that it was you and not another young man who actually lit the bomb. If you admitted it then they would have enough evidence and you could get convicted at trial. If you were under 19 when you committed the crime you are eligible for Youthful Offender Treatment and you will not have a criminal record no matter what you plead guilty to. If your father saw you lite it and did not stop you he could be charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Get a lawyer, quick. Never negotiate with the cops without one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Don't speak to the police. Hire an attorney. Let the attorney secure a deal with the district attorney, if you are going to cooperate, because police may lie as a part of their investigation. An agreement with an officer may not be enforceable, whereas, an agreement with the district attorney is enforceable. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Talk to a lawyer. Don't talk to the police. If they really want to deal with you, they'll deal with you through a lawyer. If they're lying to you to get you to talk, then talking will only hurt you. If they threaten to arrest you if you don't agree to talk to them, then remember what the stakes are; you might be choosing between spending a night in jail now or spending months in jail later. And they might not have enough to win at trial; your father's statement is not necessarily admissible, for instance. You need legal advice before deciding how to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Time to consult with a local criminal defense counsel on the matter (in my opinion). And, no more talking with the cops until you've done so.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of Mark A. Chmelewski, PS
    Law Office of Mark A. Chmelewski, PS | Mark A. Chmelewski
    Retain an attorney promptly to protect your interests. Do not make any statements to the police.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Komanapalli Massey LLP
    Komanapalli Massey LLP | Mark A. Massey, Esq.
    Your options are, cooperate and stay out of trouble, or do not, and face possible felony charges, just as the police told you. I do think that a misdemeanor is the worst you could face, but without researching the issue, I cannot say that it is not a felony charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    Whenever the police are trying to get you to agree to something they are not helping you. You need an intermediary, a lawyer. Hire one and remain silent. Your attorney can also review the specifics of your case and an investigation can start for your benefit now, instead of after the police have gathered all their information.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    I guess they didn't tell you that even if you work with them, you face felony and jail. Get a lawyer before you incriminate yourself further (and, tell your dad to shut up!)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    You need to hire a lawyer immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You need to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal attorney before agreeing to anything. They need to evaluate the police report and evidence against you in order to ascertain the strength of the case against you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    Consult with an attorney. Most of the time we will advise you not to make statements or answer questions for law enforcement officers. If there is a criminal charge filed, you will definitely need an attorney to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Your options are cooperate or fight the charges. Without a lot more detail I would not be able to adequately advise you. This is a very fact specific question.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Rights? To a fair trial, and defend against any charges. What can you do? Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to effectively help you in your defense, other than the advice to exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. That includes on this or any other web site or public forum. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. If you havent yet been arrested, an attorney may be able to persuade the police it is not worth their time in charging you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm | Grant Van Der Jagt
    First: know your 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment Rights and call an attorney fast.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    You need an attorney! Before you cut any deal you must get it in writing and immunity. Call me with any questions. This cannot and should not be done by you alone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    You have constitutional rights. It depends on what right you believe was violated. Right to remain silent is an issue that comes up if you are in police custody arrested or in police car or handcuffed. Right to be secure in your home is not absolute. It would depend on the situation with the "salute". If it appeared that there was an imminent danger to the neighborhood, the police may be allowed to enter. If the entry was with consent, then 4th Amendment is not even at issue. There is also the issue of whether your "salute" is a bomb or explosive device.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    Make an appointment to see an attorney, in person, who can go over the exact facts of what happened with you, and give you your options. I do not recommend talking to the authorities without first consulting with an attorney. I recommend going to an attorney ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You have the right to hire your own attorney and not cooperate with the police unless it is in your best interest. I can assist you in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2011
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