DISCLAIMER — THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE — EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT, AND THE LAW MAY HAVE CHANGED.
It usually pays off to be polite in your police interactions. That does not mean that you need to to sacrifice your constitutional rights. If you are interacting with a police officer you may ask if you are free to leave. You have the right to remain silent, to request not to be questioned without an attorney, and to decline to consent to searches of your person and property, including breath and blood tests. However, police can proceed with a search if they have a search warrant or an exception to the search warrant requirement, of which there are many. The time and place to argue about the validity of a search warrant exception or any other legal issue is between attorneys in the courtroom, not on the street between a potential criminal defendant and a police officer.
Suppression of Evidence
Search and seizure law is quickly developing in the Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and sometimes police procedures fall behind the changes. When police don’t follow the law, evidence can be suppressed—made unavailable in court—which can result in charges or entire cases being dismissed. Joan has argued and won numerous suppression motions resulting in dismissals for her clients. She stays on top of developing case law through her membership in Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, subscription to online publications and print materials, and attendance at continuing legal education seminars.
Many times settlement through plea negotiations is in the best interest of the client. However, Joan is not afraid of going to trial when the circumstances call for it. Joan has enjoyed plenty of success with both court and jury trials. You have the right to a six person jury trial on a misdemeanor case (verdicts must be unanimous) and a twelve person jury trial on a felony case (only ten of the twelve need to agree to find a verdict). You also have the right to waive jury and have the judge decide the case (this is called a court trial).