I was stopped by Los Angeles police. What questions am I required to answer? Can the officer order me out of the car?
If you are stopped by Los Angeles police, you are not required to answer anything. The police can make whatever orders they want. Whether they're lawful or not depends on the circumstances.
If you put yourself in a position where you're saying that the police did something wrong, the police, will try to defend themselves and say that they didn't do anything wrong. That's why body cams and various other types of evidence have become important in defending cases.
It's definitely true that the police lie all the time in criminal investigations. But, having done it so long, I've realized how difficult it is to prove that the police are lying.
So, there are different weapons that can be used by the defense. Video is obviously a huge weapon because they can't refute the video. If you can catch the officer in one lie on a video, then it destroys their credibility with the judge, the prosecutor, and any potential jury. That makes it much more likely for the defense to obtain a strong position.
If the police orders you out of the car, you should cooperate with the police as it relates to being ordered out of the car. Otherwise, you'll get some charge against you, like obstruction of justice or evading.
But, you don't have to answer their questions. You can simply tell them that you're not going to answer any of their questions, and that you want your attorney. That should be the end of it.
Can a defendant's conduct, both during and after the arrest be used by the prosecutor in a criminal case?
Any type of action that is perceived as an admission of guilt could be used by the prosecutor against the defendant if they find out about it. I remember one time I heard a lawyer telling a story about how their client went to an interview with the FBI.
They were wearing a piece of jewelry from property that was stolen from the house in the case. He was coming in for an interview, and that ended up being evidence against him in the case because he had some of the stolen merchandise.
Hence, people doing things and saying things in a criminal investigation without consulting with their attorney is never a good idea. A person's actions and various things they do can certainly come back to haunt them.
I've had other scenarios in which clients had their property taken by the police, somebody else was carrying some drugs, and they ended up getting on the phone to talk to the person about it. They didn't realize they were being listened to.
There was a wiretap on their phone, and it ended up being the best evidence they had against the person by acknowledging that those were their drugs. I can think of a whole myriad of circumstances.
But, the bottom line is that you have to get an attorney right away, give the attorney all the information, and then follow the attorney's instructions.
What should I be doing while I wait for my attorney to build my defense?
The best thing that you can do when you hire an attorney is to go over all of the evidence, and come to an understanding of exactly how the attorney is going to defend the case. Ask the attorney what they need you to do.
If the attorney says that they don't need you to do anything, you should trust your attorney. If you hired a great criminal defense attorney, you have to trust that your attorney knows what they're doing. Let them do their job.
A lot of times, the defendant in the case has done enough. In other words, they've already done and said some things that have put them in a real bad position. That doesn't necessarily mean that they now need to do a bunch of other things to try to take themselves out of that position.
That's a very difficult thing to do. People need to understand that they can't always un-ring the bell. They have to trust their attorney and let them make the moves for them.
So, listen to what your attorney says. Trust your attorney. If you have any questions about anything, ask your attorney and let them guide your case and decide whether pursuing a plea bargain is the best option or take the case to a jury trial.
Hedding Law Firm is a top-rated criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.