Question: Do I have to let the police or anyone else search my house or car?


NO. Police generally need a search warrant or your permission to enter your house. Police officers will often ask permission to search, stating that they already have enough evidence to get a search warrant and that it will save you a great deal of time and hassle to just let them go ahead and search. A search warrant can later be challenged to determine its sufficiency and if it was properly attained. If you give consent, however, the search will probably be allowed. You have the absolute right to say no.

Motor vehicles are another matter. Many times, the police will be able to search your vehicle if you are being arrested. This usually does not include, however, stops for speeding or other minor traffic violations in which only a ticket is issued; there must be something more. It is common for the police to ask to search your vehicle regardless of what they pulled you over for. Unfortunately, like your home, if you consent to the search, any items found will likely be used against you.

Remember, you always have the right to say "No, you cannot search; I don't consent to searches without a warrant." If the police have the right to search your home or vehicle (either by having obtained a warrant or obtaining sufficient probable cause) they usually wouldn't ask your permission to begin with. If the police search anyway, the sufficiency of that search and any evidence they obtain can be challenged and potentially suppressed. It's your right and only you can exercise it.

Question: Can the police lie to me when questioning me about a case?


YES. The police are allowed to tell you an outright lie in their attempt to get you to incriminate yourself. One of the most common lies is to say they have witnesses or other evidence when they do not, or to tell someone that their accomplices have already confessed so they should as well.

Question: Can I represent myself in my case?


Yes, a person is allowed to represent him or herself in court; this is called Pro Se representation. However, we strongly recommend that a person (even a lawyer) not represent him or herself for several reasons.

Unless one has the education, training, and experience, defending a criminal case through all its various stages could be a very dangerous proposition. Failure to follow the procedural and evidentiary rules can have a severe adverse impact on a client's case. Additionally, if you are not a U.S. citizen you can even be subject to deportation. Finally, a person with an emotional and personal interest in a case may not make the best choices regarding how to proceed on a case; this applies to attorneys who want to represent themselves as well.

A criminal defense attorney knows what the State must prove to get a conviction for every type of criminal offense. He or she also understands the possible defenses to those crimes, which puts criminal lawyers in a better position when defending a case.

Question: Can I seal my criminal record and/or get an expungement?


Yes. All too often, people receive negative treatment because of their past. Oklahoma allows for the expungement of certain records from public inquiry and the person can legally state that no such event ever occurred. The rules as to who can receive an expungement and for what offenses (misdemeanors, felonies, protective orders, etc.) can be expunged are very detailed, and a competent and experienced lawyer should be consulted to find out if you qualify.

Question: What do I do if I am falsely accused of a crime?


Unfortunately, innocence does not necessarily mean that the charges against you will be dropped or that a jury will find you not guilty. If you are accused of a crime you did not commit, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.