Know Your Rights

Your Rights

  • You have the right to reasonable contact with your attorney.
  • You have the right to a full explanation of the charges against you, and any possible defenses.
  • You have the right to be kept advised of the progress of your case.
  • You have the right to all copies of correspondence, pleadings and orders filed or received on your behalf.
  • You have the right to decide whether to plead guilty or proceed to trial.
  • If you go to trial, you have the right to decide whether or not to testify.


  • Do not talk to anyone about your case, including family, friends and other inmates. Assume that all jail phone calls and mail are being monitored by law enforcement.
  • You may discuss anything concerning your case with your attorney because these matters are protected by a privilege. This privilege extends only to discussions between you and your attorney and your attorney’s staff. Your attorney will not discuss your case with your family or friends without your permission.
  • Do not talk to anyone in law enforcement until you check with your attorney.

Communicating with your Attorney

  • You can call your attorney collect at the number listed on the back of this brochure. These calls will be kept confidential. If your attorney is not available, your call will not be accepted. Please remember that your attorney has other clients and must attend matters outside of the office.
  • You can communicate with your attorney by letter. Send it to the address listed on the back of the brochure. However, do not write confidential matters.

Courtroom Behavior

  • Do not talk while court is in session.
  • Be attentive and respectful.
  • Always stand and speak clearly when giving a statement to the court.
  • Dress appropriately for court.
  • Never appear in court under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Remember, cell phones, weapons, knives, etc., are not allowed in the courthouse.
  • Always have a photo id when visiting the courthouse.

Preparing Your Case

  • After you are charged your attorney will begin gathering all the facts necessary to advise you on your case, including the strengths and weaknesses of the government’s case as well as any defenses you may have. Your attorney will also advise you of the possible sentence you face if convicted. Then, you and your attorney can decide whether it is best to go to trial or plead guilty. Your attorney will keep you informed by letters and in-person visits. You can always write or call with any questions.
  • In order to better investigate and prepare your case, an investigator from the office may be assigned to your case. The investigator may need to meet with you, as well as with your friends and family. Anything you talk with the investigator about regarding your case is confidential, just as if you were talking with your attorney.
  • It is helpful to your attorney if you can provide names and contact information for potential witnesses in your case. Do not contact these individuals yourself.
  • It is also helpful to alert your family about the importance of cooperating with your attorney.
  • The Government will provide you and your attorney with discovery, which will include some of -or- evidence against you.
  • Your attorney may file motions in your case, including motions to continue and motions to suppress. You should not file any motions on your own.
Get in touch with us
Federal Public Defender
District of Puerto Rico

241 F.D. Roosevelt Avenue
San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00918-2441

 (787) 281-4922
 (787) 281-4899