FAQ: Criminal Defense
Everyone, no matter what their current or past history with the criminal justice system is, should be familiar with the basic laws and processes of criminal defense. Perhaps you’ve had run-ins with the law before, you’re currently facing charges, or you have a loved one or family member who is. By taking the time to educate yourself you’ll be better prepared and able to make informed decisions.
If you’d like to learn more about the topics below, reach out to our criminal defense attorneys at the Abrahamson Law Office. Our firm represents clients in and around Omaha, Nebraska.
Do I have to speak to the police after I’m arrested?
The answer is a bit of a mix of yes and no. Say being pulled over on suspected DUI charges. You do have to present the police with your license, registration, and proof of insurance when they ask, but you do not have to answer any of their questions.
Instead, you can calmly and politely refuse to answer questions and say that you’d like to consult with your lawyer first. You should be cooperative, but being cooperative doesn’t mean talkative.
I just want this to go away. Should I accept a plea deal?
Striking a plea deal can sometimes be in your best interest and can shorten the amount of time you spend going in and out or courtrooms. However, in some cases, you’re better off seeing the trial through till the end. This is true whether it’s for drug charges, murder, manslaughter, assault, domestic violence, sex crimes, or theft.
Only by first consulting with your lawyer and having them thoroughly evaluate the available evidence will you be able to determine your best defensive strategy and this often won’t involve a plea deal.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
In general, a misdemeanor is a less serious crime and a felony is a more serious crime, but both should be handled by a professional. In Nebraska, a misdemeanor conviction can bring with it up to a year in jail while a felony conviction can be over a year and up to life in prison.
When are police allowed to search my person, vehicle, or home?
Police can only search you or your property when they have your consent or when they have probable cause that they’ll find something. This is one of the most basic rights we depend on that’s been in place since 1787 with the adoption of the Bill of Rights. If you ever feel you’ve been the victim of an illegal search and seizure you must share this information with your lawyer since you may be able to exclude any evidence found under the protections of the Fourth Amendment.
Can I clear a criminal charge from my record?
Nebraska allows for both record sealing and expungement of certain crimes, and the best way to determine if this is an option for you is to consult with an attorney. In most cases, this can only apply to low-level, non-violent crimes and can typically only be used once.
Do I really need a criminal defense attorney?
The short answer is yes. Even if you think you’re innocent or that you’ve been unfairly charged, you should always have an experienced attorney working on your side to ensure your rights are protected. The potential penalties for a criminal conviction are simply too high to risk going at it alone and you should never attempt to represent yourself in court.
Answering Your Questions With Knowledgeable Support
If you live in or around the Omaha, Nebraska, area and are interested in learning more about the criminal defense process or steps you can take to protect your best interests when facing criminal charges, call us at Abrahamson Law Office to schedule a consultation.
We serve clients throughout Sarpy County, Douglas County, Washington County, Saunders County (Wahoo), Otoe County (Nebraska City), and Dodge County (Fremont)