Jana Harris Law, LLC
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Important Information From Experienced Georgia Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

Below are answers to questions frequently encountered at Jana Harris Law, LLC, as we help people in Atlanta, Georgia and throughout the Southeast who have been arrested or who have been in an auto accident and need advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney or personal injury lawyer. We hope the following information is helpful to you. If you have other questions or require advice and representation in a particular civil or criminal law matter, please contact Jana Harris Law, LLC for assistance.

What should I do if I’ve been arrested?

Be calm and respectful; it won’t do you any good to antagonize the police. However, you do not have to answer any questions beyond giving your basic personal information, and you are strongly encouraged not to talk to anyone until you have contacted an attorney first. Even if you have nothing to hide and the police seem friendly, remember that they are experts at interrogation techniques, and their goal is to elicit information that can be used against you. This may include asking the same question in different ways to make your answers seem inconsistent, so that even statements that have nothing to do with the subject of your arrest can be used to incriminate you at trial. Statements you make to other people at the jail, to your family and friends, or through social media can also be used against you, so talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer first.

What do I do if I get into a car accident?

Try to remain calm. Your first responsibility is to see to the safety of yourself and those around you. If anybody is injured, call 9-1-1. Perform First Aid if you are confident that you know what you are doing. If the vehicles are posing a safety hazard, you can move them to the side of the road if it is safe to do so; otherwise, engage your hazard/safety lights and get yourself to a safe location.

Once you are safe, exchange information with the other driver, including name, address and phone number, and name of insurance company and policy number. If there are any witnesses to the accident, try to get their names and numbers too. Another good idea is to take pictures of the damage done to the vehicles, as well as the surrounding scene.

See your doctor and contact a lawyer as soon as possible, and explain what happened. Your lawyer may be able to help you set up a doctor appointment and can start right away investigating the accident and collecting and preserving important evidence for your case.

The investigator for the insurance company says that I am partly at fault for causing the accident. Does this mean I can’t recover any compensation?

Under Georgia’s law of comparative negligence, as long as you are not more than 50% to blame for causing the accident, you can recover for your injuries, although your recovery will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault assigned to you. If the case goes to trial, it is the jury who will decide who is to blame and by how much, so don’t be intimidated by the insurance company’s posturing. We will conduct our own investigation of the accident as well, and we will fight from start to finish to hold the opposing parties accountable for their negligence or misconduct.

Do I have to let the police search my home or car?

The general rule is that the police must have a valid search warrant supported by probable cause in order to search, but there are many exceptions to this rule. If the police tell you that they have a right to search and are going to conduct a search, you should not fight with them or try to obstruct them. If the search turns out to be unreasonable or unconstitutional, your attorney may be able to get any evidence seized in the search suppressed, or even have the case thrown out altogether.

Even without probable cause, the police can search you or your property if you give them permission. If the police are asking for your consent to search, you have the right to refuse, and there is really no good reason to consent to a search. Even though you may have nothing to hide, there is no telling what the police may find and use against you. While it is a good idea to be polite and respectful with the police, that does not mean you should give up your constitutional rights because you are scared or want to be helpful. Know your rights and exercise them. If you are unsure about your rights, ask to speak to an attorney. In Georgia, Florida, and throughout the Southeast, contact Jana Harris Law, LLC for assistance.

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