Law Office of Terri Wood

Frequently Asked Questions

Consult a lawyer before you speak to the police. If confronted by police before you speak with a lawyer, tell the officer you need to speak with an attorney first, then stop talking. Remember, police are trained in techniques to get you to talk with them, and it is legal for police to lie to you in an attempt to get you to talk.
You are not required to speak with the police, even if you have “nothing to hide.” Remember, there is always a chance that the police will not accurately report what you tell them. It is also legal for police to lie to you in an attempt to get you to talk. If you prefer not to talk with the police, simply say that politely, and then stop talking.
Yes. It is always wise to consult a lawyer as soon as possible, once you learn you are a suspect in a crime. A lawyer can protect your legal rights and communicate with the police and prosecutor on your behalf. If charges will be filed, hiring a lawyer before you are charged may allow you to make a voluntary appearance in court, rather than face arrest and detention before your court appearance.
Hiring a lawyer will at least improve the likelihood of being released, in most cases. The lawyer knows what information to gather from friends and relatives to support release, and can lobby pretrial services to approve release on conditions. A lawyer can also bring the question of release before the Court, if pretrial services remains opposed to release.
Some lawyers charge clients a “flat fee,” which is a lump sum to handle the case from start to finish, regardless of how much time it takes. Always get a written fee agreement that explains whether additional charges may apply, if, for example, the case goes to trial rather than resolves by a plea bargain.
A retainer is a sum of money paid to the attorney at the outset of representation. If the retainer is “non-refundable,” that means that no matter how little work the attorney does, the attorney is entitled to keep the full retainer. A retainer that is NOT “non-refundable” would be deposited in a client trust account and used like a “down payment,” to be applied towards future services. If not all of this type of retainer is needed to pay the attorney, the balance gets refunded to the client at the end of the case. Make sure that you understand which type of retainer you are paying. It should be spelled out in a written fee agreement.
No. Your Miranda rights warn you about your right to remain silent, and your right to have appointed counsel present before you decide whether to answer any questions, once you are in police custody. Officers are not required to give you your rights unless they intend to question you once you are in custody. If they fail to give you your rights, after you are in custody, then any answers you give to questions can not be used against you in court. But that doesn’t make the arrest illegal.
No. Oregon law allows police who have stopped a motorist for a traffic infraction to ask for consent to search, even if the officer has no reason to suspect contraband in the vehicle, so long as the request is made during the course of the stop. If you refuse to consent, the officer cannot detain you beyond the time it takes to complete the traffic infraction investigation and write up the ticket, unless he has a reasonable suspicion that you are committing some other crime.
Yes, assuming the police had probable cause to charge you either before or after speaking with you. When you agree to let the police inside your home, the courts will view it as a consensual encounter. No warrant is required for police to enter your home if you consent to let them in. Police are only required to give you Miranda rights before asking questions when you are in custody. Often the best course of action is to not let them in, ask what is it they are there about, ask for their business card, and politely explain that you want to speak with a lawyer first.

Quotable:
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Geographical Practice Areas: Attorney Terri Wood has over 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of clients accused of crimes. Her practice is exclusively, 100% criminal defense. Attorney Wood represents criminal defendants charged in Oregon’s federal, state, and municipal courts, and persons under investigation for crimes. Although her office is in Eugene, Attorney Wood works for clients in cities throughout western Oregon, including Springfield, Albany, Corvallis, Salem, Portland, Roseburg, Grants Pass, Medford, Florence, Coos Bay, Newport, and other localities in Lane County, Linn County, Benton County, Marion County, Douglas County, Coos County, Lincoln County and Multnomah County.