UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS
Going through a criminal proceeding is disorienting. If you are facing criminal charges, you are going to have to make some very complicated decisions without time to think. Should I plead? Should I ask the Judge to be forgiving, or should I keep silent? Should I even be here? Many criminal defendants make bad choices because they don't understand the process and their rights. Streff Legal can help you understand your rights, when you can exert them, how to best negotiate with the prosecutor, and when it makes sense to go to trial.
GET AN ATTORNEY BEFORE TALKING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
This is critical advice. You have the right to an attorney when answering questions from law enforcement - no exceptions. Law enforcement may tell you many things, including that your case will “go better” or that they can help you if you talk to them. Remember, whether or not you are given a Miranda warning (i.e. “You have the right to remain silent…”), law enforcement CAN AND WILL use everything you say against you in court. Do not talk to law enforcement without an attorney. Many criminal cases could have been avoided if a defendant simply chose to exercise his or her right to remain silent. Get an attorney early to avoid other possible pitfalls.
Note: you do have to cooperate with law enforcement. If they are asking you questions, just say, “I want an attorney.” Usually the officer will stop asking you questions. If an officer gives you a lawful order, repeatedly continue to firmly and politely ask for an attorney, but you must obey the order.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE PRACTICE AREAS
Streff Legal provides legal representation for the following Criminal Defense areas, as well as other.
Unlawful Assembly, Riot, Public Nuisance, and 1st Amendment Rights
Assault, including Domestic Assault
Drug and Controlled Substance Offenses
Criminal Vehicular Offenses, including Reckless and Careless Driving, Criminal Vehicular Operation, etc.
Vehicle License & Insurance Offenses
Theft Offenses, including Robbery, Burglary, and other Theft Chages
"White-Collar" Crime, including Theft by Swindle, Embezzlement, Check Fraud, and Public Benefits Fraud
Identity Theft, False Reporting, Mail Fraud/Theft, Forgery, Bribery
Fleeing Police, Obstruction of Justice, False Reporting, Interference with Police, and other Justice Offenses
Damage to Property, Trespass on Private and Public Property, Arson
Firearms Charges and 2nd Amendment Issues
Hunting and Department of Natural Resources Violations
Property Forfeiture and Other Related Civil Actions
The government will often try to take your property, including your vehicle or other property alleged to be "involved" in criminal activity. Streff Legal can assist in civil actions related to criminal charges, such as forfeiture or impoundment of property, license revocation, or other civil matters. DWI charges beyond low-level 4th Degree charges will typically also involve a civil case. Vehicles or other property can be forfeited and taken by the State if allegedly involved in drug sales, fraud or theft, and very often in firearms, hunting, or Department of Natural Resources allegations. Unfortunately, unlike criminal cases where you must be found guilty by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard is often very low for civil forfeiture cases. Usually the standard is "preponderance of the evidence," which just means it is more likely than not that you engaged in criminal activity. So, you can win at a criminal trial, but still lose your property. Seek attorney advise quickly, as forfeiture and other cases are often time-barred. You might lose your property if you don't file in a very short period of time, often as few as 60 days after the alleged offense.
WHAT STREFF LEGAL OFFERS
An attorney who will listen to you.
Your attorney speaks for you: in front of the judge and in front of a jury. You deserve an attorney who listens to you: an attorney who can help you tell the judge or jury about your side. Or, often, why the facts of the prosecution don't add up. You deserve an attorney who will spend time with you to help you understand the process and make the best decisions.
IF YOU ARE NOT A U.S. CITIZEN
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be at risk of deportation (removal) because of criminal proceedings. Here are the major "don'ts" if you're facing criminal charges:
DO NOT take a plea without consulting an immigration lawyer
DO NOT respond to questions from immigration authorities without a lawyer present
DO NOT respond to questions from other law enforcement without a lawyer present
DO NOT let any law enforcement into your home without a warrant
This includes U.S. Permanent Residents: you may lose your Permanent Residence from criminal charges. Find an immigration lawyer before you do anything that could cause problems for immigration, whether you have status or not. In most circumstances, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO IMMIGRATION COUNSEL (though you do not have a right to free immigration counsel).