Guilty Plea and Mercy of the Court

Interviewer: What if I was arrested for a crime and I believe I’m guilty, should I bring myself to the mercy of the court or should I fight the charges?

Randy Berman: You should never rely on the mercy of the court at the outset because you don’t know what penalties or fines might be mandatory. Many crimes involve mandatory sentences that don’t give the judge discretion to give you mercy and it would be crazy for you to blindly accept responsibility not knowing what your best case scenario and worst case scenario are going to be.My advice would be never to immediately confess or accept responsibility by pleading right away. You need to find out all of your options first before you make that decision.

First Time Offenders are subject to Discretion from the Prosecution

Interviewer: Does it matter if I were a good person or had a family or never been in trouble before, like a first time offense? How do they view first time offenders?

Randy Berman: Again it depends on the crime but if there are no mandatory sentences that are associated with that crime then the judge has discretion in what to sentence you to. The prosecutor has discretion in what to offer you and certainly any positive things about you such as being a first time offender, having specific family problems that caused you to drink and commit the crime. These factors are significant in how the state attorney will look at your case as well as the judge. They have an impact, a significant impact on how your case will be resolved.

The Police tend to be Secretive about the Investigation Process

Interviewer: How will I know if I’m under criminal investigation and been charged or will be charge for a crime?

Randy Berman: Well the police generally don’t announce or broadcast their investigation of any people. They try to keep that under wraps because when someone knows that they are under investigation then any attempt to collect evidence against them or get them to implicate themselves is pretty much gone. If the person is aware, he or she is going to watch everything they do and say, and are cognizant of being watched. The likelihood of someone knowing that they’re under investigation and doing something wrong is pretty slim. You have to be not too bright if you know you’re under investigation and conduct yourself in any illegal manner.

The answer to the question is you don’t know if you’re under investigation. You can find out indirectly when someone associated with you has been arrested,for some activity that you’re also involved in. That’s generally how people find out prior to an arrest.

You are not obligated to respond to Police in the absence of an Attorney

Interviewer: Am I obligated to meet with the police or a detective if they call me up?

Randy Berman: No, unless they have a warrant to arrest you, you have no obligation to voluntarily go in. If you’re told by the police that they just want to talk about something, it’s always best to engage a lawyer first. Give the lawyer the details and have him contact the police for you to try to find out what specifically it’s about. Then make the determination of whether it’s in your best interest to sit down and give a statement or not. I recently handled a case where a fellow’s house was searched and the police found drugs. He posted Bond and then the lead detective was calling him wanting to talk to him.

He engaged me, I called the officer and discussed with the officer what it was that he wanted to talk about.It wasn’t appropriate for the client to be talking to the officer. Now the officer won’t bother him anymore because when they know you are represented by a lawyer they have to engage the lawyer. It’s their obligation to advise the lawyer of their intention of talking to the client.