The Police are looking for you and want to talk with you!
So you heard the police want to speak with you regarding allegations you have broken the law. They have left a card at your home indicating to call them when you arrive. Or you have received a letter from the district attorney’s office indicating they want you to come in and talk to them.
What do you do? First, call your attorney. You need an attorney with you to help guide you through the legal maze which appears before you. The absolutely awesome power of the State is now being brought down upon you. How can you expect to protect your rights without having an experienced attorney there with you to help protect you?
Do not speak to the police or a member of the district attorney’s office without consulting with your attorney and preferably have that attorney present with you when you do speak with them. Remember, anything and everything you say will be used against you in court. If you are not in custody and the police are asking you questions anything you say to them at this time can and will be used against you even if you have not been given your Miranda warnings. Your Miranda warnings are those rights which the police must give to you before questioning you after you have been arrested and they are seeking information from you which may incriminate you.
Remember, the police can lie to you. They can tell you they have eye witnesses who saw you commit the crime. Or they can claim that they found evidence linking you to a crime when in fact they have none. All too frequently, what they are hoping for is a confession from you, which will be utilized against you in court to obtain your conviction. That is called a “sew-up” confession because it sews up their case against you.
The police can also lie to you about what crime they are speaking to you. They may make it seem that you violated some other, more serious law in an effort to get you to talk. Remember, say nothing to the police about anything without consulting with your attorney first.
A WORD ABOUT DOMESTIC ABUSE
Domestic abuse involves crimes generally involving members of a family, for example, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters or extended family members residing together as well as room mates and people with whom you have a child. Over the course of the last 20 years I have seen all types of crimes designated as “domestic abuse” including felony and misdemeanor crimes involving battery, sexual assault, recklessly endangering safety, violation of restraining orders, and disorderly conduct.
The State of Wisconsin has taken a very aggressive prosecution stance against people accused of committing domestic violence including trying to achieve convictions against defendants even when the alleged victim does not appear in court to testify against the defendant. You need an attorney to help guide you through the complexities that will inevitably come your way if you are arrested and charged with committing a crime involving domestic abuse.
Probably the biggest concern that I hear about are the collateral consequences of getting a conviction involving domestic violence. If you are convicted of a crime involving “domestic abuse” you will have a lifetime ban against possessing or owning firearms. This can be especially detrimental if you are a hunter or have a job that requires that you carry a gun. You will be required to get rid of all your firearms. Violating this lifetime ban on possessing firearms is a federal offense subjecting you to federal prosecution. In addition, having a criminal record for “domestic violence” will be used against you if there are child custody issues in a later divorce proceeding, if you have children.
So it is vitally important that you hire an attorney who has litigated these matters fully in the past and has stayed current in the development in the law in these areas.