CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS
June 17, 2019
Many people either do not know their constitutional rights or are afraid to assert them. Constitutional rights are there in order to protect people from overreaching government action, and they should always be asserted in a criminal case.
Charged with a Crime? Know Your Constitutional Rights
Everyone who is accused of a criminal offense has certain constitutional rights. It is important that you understand your rights and assert them. If you fail to exercise your constitutional rights, the police and prosecution may use evidence that might have otherwise been suppressed or not gathered against you. Police and prosecutors may not use the fact that you asserted your constitutional rights against you as evidence.
RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
You have the right against self-incrimination. If a police officer arrests you, you should tell them you are asserting your right to remain silent. Sometimes, people mistakenly believe they can talk their way out of a charge. Instead, police will use everything you say in order to try to secure a conviction. They can’t use the fact of your silence against you, however.
RIGHT AGAINST UNLAWFUL SEARCH AND SEIZURE
You have a right against unlawful searches and seizures. Unless an officer has an exception to the warrant requirement, such as exigent circumstances, consent to search, or evidence in plain view, you do not have to let a search occur. Police must seek a warrant, which requires them to outline probable cause in an affidavit presented to a judge. Asserting your rights against unconstitutional searches and seizures may prevent them from happening if the police do not have enough evidence. Similarly, you do not have to give police your cell phone for them to look through. Be assertive and tell them to get a warrant.
RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY AND A VIGOROUS DEFENSE
You have a right to an attorney and to assert a strong defense. When you are facing criminal charges, it is important to choose an aggressive Las Vegas criminal lawyer to help you defend against your charges. When you have been arrested, tell police immediately that you want to hire an attorney. They must then immediately stop questioning you.