12 pro-tips from a Columbus criminal attorney
Or, if you’re best friend’s an attorney, here’s what he’d tell you
We like to pick our friends’ brains. Your buddy who’s a nutritionist probably gets asked, “OK, what should I really be eating?” no less than five times a week. Doctors take health-related questions from friends constantly. It’s the same for me.
I get questions about being a criminal attorney in Columbus often, and I get it — it’s a pretty interesting (and complex) job. Today, in the spirit of sharing with friends, and because we know you have questions, I’m passing along some pro-tips from Yavitch & Palmer.
1. Are you in custody?
It seems like a straightforward scenario, but it’s not always so clear. You can assume you’re in police custody if you do not feel free to leave the presence of an officer, which means you’ll need to be read your Miranda rights and agree to waive those rights before authorities can ask you a thing.
2. You’re allowed to stay silent.
Do it. Your constitutional right to silence is a tremendous — maybe your only — advantage in a criminal situation. Speaking up before your attorney is present isn’t likely to help you at all. At worst, you’ll incriminate yourself, perhaps without even realizing it.
3. You get what you pay for.
There are some criminal attorneys that simply aren’t good (especially if you’ve been charged with an OVI or DUI). If you see an ad for discounted or cheap services, consider that a warning about how your case will be handled. Also, experience matters. Hiring a good lawyer is never “cheap.”
4. Keep your car maintained.
Most people panic when they get pulled over, particularly if they’ve had a couple drinks. One way to avoid a traffic stop in the first place is to keep your car maintained. Driving around with a taillight out or a missing plate is just drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.
5. Know your ABV.
Speaking of drinking, please be smart. Craft beers are going to get you drunk quicker than a few Bud Lights. That’s the reality.
6. Know where the DUI checkpoints are.
I’m not advocating drinking to excess and then getting behind the wheel, but you’ll want to avoid these stops even when you’ve had just a couple beers. So much is at play — your weight, how much you’ve eaten during the day — and feeling sober isn’t enough to prove you’re sober. Most checkpoints are shared publicly, so visit the Columbus Police Department’s website before hitting the town.
7. The laws on drug possession are incredibly complicated.
Your best bet is to avoid illegal substances completely. Prescription drugs can also get you in deep water; don’t have anything on you — or in your car, or in your home — that wasn’t written for you by a legitimate pharmacist.
8. Most fireworks are still illegal in Ohio.
Seriously. What seems like innocent fun can lead to a serious charge.
9. A criminal attorney can help you “cover up” a criminal past.
You have the option to have a record sealed or expunged, which means, moving forward, you can check the “No” box when asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. It certainly makes applying for jobs easier.
10. You do not need to testify.
If, after examining your case, I don’t see a benefit, it’s common that I’ll have my clients sit this part out. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t make you look any more or less guilty. Trust me.
11. Watch out for promises that can’t be kept.
I can’t promise the outcome of your case, but I’ll do my best for you. A criminal attorney who promises a win is simply not a good criminal attorney.
12. It was a minor infraction … right?
The truth is, crime is crime. And some actions that feel small can lead to big charges. Littering, getting into a scuffle outside the bar, even stealing cable TV can get you into major trouble.
Don’t delay. Contact us today.