In Part 3 of the “How to Win a Criminal Case” series, Attorney Cowan discusses how to protect yourself in a high-stakes confrontation with law enforcement.
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If you’re watching this video because you’ve recently been arrested for a possession offense, or a drug distribution or trafficking offense, or for a gun charge, the two most important things for you to do right now are: Number one, don’t answer any questions from the police. If you already have that’s something your lawyer can work with, but don’t answer anymore. And if the police call you for questioning or they ask you questions, you just say, “I watched a video, and attorney Andy Cowan told me I’m not supposed to answer.” Put the blame on me.
Number two, you need a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer you’ll get a court-appointed lawyer and most of the court-appointed lawyers in Massachusetts do excellent work. If you can afford a lawyer, there’s a lot of value in shopping around and finding a lawyer that you like. You want to find somebody that you have a good rapport with. You want to find somebody that when you sit down and talk to them about your case, they make you feel good about it. Even if they’re giving you bad news, you want to feel like you’re getting an honest appraisal from somebody you can trust. And I think it’s very important that there’s a lot of technically competent lawyers who would do very good work. You need to find somebody that is not only technically competent, but somebody that can relate to you and somebody that you can relate to. That you feel like you can have a good working relationship with. In a district court drug case you’re going to be working together for anywhere from three months to a year. In superior court cases it’s going to be one to three years on average. And again, it could be as much as six or seven years. So you need somebody that you’re going to be very comfortable with. And somebody that you’re comfortable talking about some of the more intimate aspects of your life with.
If you’re watching this video because you haven’t been arrested or charged, but you’re afraid you might be, I have the following advice for you. Never consent to a search. Police officers are very good at making it feel like it might be in your best interest, just this once, and it never is. Just repeat, “I don’t consent to any search.” Repeat that over and over again until the police either do it anyway, or let you go. Don’t ever talk to the police when they suspect you of a crime. Again, police are very good at applying social pressure to make it feel like you should talk. And you can put all the blame on me and say, “Attorney Cowan told me not to, and I’m going to follow his advice. Why don’t you give him a call officer?”
Number three, never let the police into your house. Cops and vampires can’t come into your house without permission. If you remember that, you will be much safer. If you think that you need to talk to the police about something, for example you’ve been the victim of a crime, step out of your house and talk to them on the front porch or in the hallway of your apartment building. Do not let the police into your house. Do not consent to search. And do not talk to the police when they suspect you of a crime.
If you need more personalized legal advice you’re always welcome to give me a call at: 617-245-1976. I look forward to hearing from you.