Legal Question in Criminal Law in District of Columbia

I was arrested 6/8/15 for illegal fireworks. One of the ATF agents got mad because I wouldn"t sign a consent to search nor answer when he asked whether the vehicle was registered to me. They searched, found fireworks and took me to their holding and cuff my right hand to a bar. I was concerned that they were about to beat me up so I answered questions. Others use my van so I didn't say fireworks were mine. I just said I didn't know they were in the van. They put statements on the tape I didn't say. The lawyer I had said I couldn't deny tape so now I don't have a lawyer in Fed court. What should I do?

Asked on 1/10/16, 8:55 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Sean Hanover Hanover Law

Well, first, I would not fire your attorney.

Generally, if you made a knowing and voluntary statement on record, and you were given your miranda rights before doing so, it's going to be tough to throw-out your statements. The rule is always, always, always -- don't say anything unless your lawyer is there with you.

As for for what comes next? That depends on why they were following you, what prompted them to stop you, and whether you can assist them in further investigation. If you were driving the van, and the van had contraband in it, especially if it was in plain view, or could be reasonably considered in plain view, you're going to be found in control and possession of the contraband. However, if the stop was not legal, or they lack a sufficiently articulatable suspicion for stopping you (i.e. there needed to be some reason a police officer would pull you over -- if not, the whole thing falls apart for them), then you might still walk away from this.

I am happy to discuss this further. DO NOT write anything about the case online. It can be used against you and cause you considerable grief. Call me, or another attorney if you wish -- but discussions must not be recorded. 703-402-2723.

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Answered on 1/10/16, 10:12 pm
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

You should get a new lawyer, or re-hire the old one. (Whether he was fired or resigned isn't clear from your question, and neither are the precise reasons why.) Do not try to deal with this on your own. If you made false statements to the authorities, you could be in a lot more trouble than you would have been for the fireworks. You've already said too much, and you're likely to make your situation even worse if you don't have a competent lawyer on your side.

Good luck.

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Answered on 1/11/16, 1:05 pm

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