ST. LOUIS CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
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If you have been arrested or accused of a crime, call experienced criminal defense attorney James Feely, Jr., before you speak to anyone else. He offers a free case evaluation.
You have specific rights that may be waived if they are not invoked in a timely manner.
Moreover, a good criminal lawyer will advise you of your legal rights and what defense strategies are available to you.
James P. Feely, Jr.
ACCUSED OF A CRIME?
DON'T SPEAK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT A LAWYER
Don't wait until you have been formally charged to speak with a lawyer. Often the police will interview you prior to making a formal charge.
The information gained from these interviews can be used against you later in court.
You have the legal right to have an attorney present during any questioning as well as if you make any statements.
It is not always necessary for an officer to read you your rights before asking questions. Anything you tell an officer before or after the Miranda warning could possibly be used later in court.
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED
If the arrest is for a misdemeanor or night court (municipal) offense, you might have to post a bond to be released.
Often times a person is released without having to post a bond in these types of offenses, and instead receives a "summons" to appear in court on a given date and time.
If you are arrested for a felony, you will either be released pending application for a warrant (this is often how less serious felony cases are handled), or you will be held in custody after being booked.
If held in custody, the prosecutor will have 24 hours to file charges, otherwise you must be released.
If you are released on a felony arrest pending a warrant, then you don't have to post a bond at that time to be released.
If charges are later filed against you by the prosecutor, a warrant for your arrest will be issued and a bond set by the judge.
TYPES OF BONDS
Depending on the seriousness of the charges, a defendant might have a cash only bond, a surety bond, or 10% cash bond.
A cash bond allows you to be released upon a deposit with the court of cash in a certain amount.
If the defendant shows up for court as ordered by the court, then the cash is returned at the conclusion of the case, minus court costs and fees.
A surety bond is where you use a bail bond agent to get out of jail.
Generally, the bond agent will charge you a fee of 10% the bond amount to post your entire bond with the court.
You don' get that 10% fee back ever - that is the bond agent's profit for writing your bond.
That is, promising the court to pay the entire bond amount to the court if you fail to appear and a bond forfeiture is ordered by the judge.
A 10% cash bond is where you can post 10% of the total bond in cash with the court, and be released on bond.
If you make a 10% cash bond, you get that money back after the case is over - minus court costs and fees, assuming you show up for court as required.
Sometimes a person can obtain a recognizance bond from the court. This is where the person is released without having to post a bond.
Instead, they are released upon a promise to show up for court at a later date and time as ordered by the judge.
WHILE IN CUSTODY AFTER INITIAL ARREST
You will be booked by an officer. That means you will be fingerprinted and photographed (mug shot).
In almost all circumstances when you are arrested, the police will attempt to question you. The reason for this is because their case will become stronger if you confess.
WHY IT'S BAD TO TALK
You might not exactly admit to the offense charged, but you might say something else that is incriminating in one way or another.
I have had many cases over the years that I could have won if my client had not given a statement to the police.
POLICE TACTICS TO MAKE YOU TALK
The police can legally lie to you in some respects during an interrogation.
Detectives are trained on how to get you to talk. They are generally well-trained in this respect.
Couple that with a human need to confess and you have a recipe for an easy conviction for the government.
The classic example of this is where two people are arrested together and taken in for questioning. The two defendants are placed into separate interrogation rooms.
The police tell defendant "A" that defendant "B" just told them exactly what happened, and if "A" wants any kind of preferential treatment (not be held in jail today), that "A" better tell their side of the story right away.
Unbeknownst to defendant "A", the police are in a different room with defendant "B", and are telling "B" that defendant "A" just gave a full confession, and that defendant "B" better start talking right away if they want any type of preferential treatment.
Thus, neither defendant "A" nor defendant "B" gave any confessions or incriminating statements initially, but after being being told that their co-defendant was in the other room giving a statement, it helped make each decide to confess.
There are some types of lies that the police cannot legally tell you, such as if you confess they will see that no charges are filed or guarantee you probation, and other such legal "promises" or "guarantees".
WHAT CAN BE DONE IF YOU CONFESSED?
If you have given a confession or statement, and want to fight your charges, Mr. Feely will file a motion to suppress to attempt to obtain on Order from the judge suppressing the statement.
This can be accomplished if it is shown that the police violated your rights in obtaining the statement. This is not easy to show, but it can be done.
Mr. Feely has obtained such suppression rulings for both confessions and evidence.
Mr. Feely once had to defend a favorable suppression ruling in the Court of Appeals.
He was successful, and made case law on a 5th Amendment issue. See State v. Taylor, 109 S.W.3d 190 (Mo.App.2003).
If the police seized any evidence from you that they wish to use against you at trial, such as drugs, weapons, or anything else, Mr. Feely can file a motion to suppress those items from being admitted into evidence.
If the judge finds that the police violated your rights in seizing those items, it is possible to have them suppressed, and thus not allowed as evidence at your trial.
Often, a successful ruling on a motion to suppress will cause the government to drop its case.
For example, if the case against you is for possession of drugs and the prosecutor is prohibited from offering the drugs as evidence, because they have been suppressed by the judge, then the prosecution won't have a case.
If it is a statement or confession that is suppressed, there might still be enough other evidence to continue a prosecution.
But it would certainly weaken the government's case if your confession or other incriminating statement were not admissible.
Anytime you are arrested or accused of committing a crime, you face very serious consequences that may affect you for the rest of your life.
These consequences include possibly losing your freedom, employment, money and family.
St. Louis criminal defense attorney James Feely, Jr. has represented clients in more than 30 Missouri counties. Including Franklin County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, and many others.
Mr. Feely has also received not guilty verdicts from juries on very serious charges, some in which his client was facing life in prison.
Mr. Feely has experience defending against charges ranging from DWI, traffic law matters and misdemeanor crimes, to felony crimes including stealing offenses, drug charges, and related charges, rape, sex offenses, and homicide.
If you have a probation violation matter, we can help with that too. Call today to speak to Mr. Feely about your particular case.