The line between a violation of your rights and a lawful arrest can be extremely thin. If every action by law enforcement during an arrest situation was not carried out to the letter of the law, all evidence and the charges that followed could be thrown out" – making you free from a conviction. To help you understand the breadth and scope of your rights as guaranteed under the US Constitution, read on for some common arrest issues that might prompt defensive actions on the part of your criminal defense attorney.
Highly publicized incidents of police brutality surface daily. Even though the vast majority of law enforcement officers are well-trained and thoughtful in their interactions with suspects, bad apples exist in many places. Humane treatment covers the span of time from your first encounter with an officer up until exoneration or continued incarceration. Excessive force is a common theme and proof is easier to find these days using dash cams and body cams from the officers. If you were hurt in any manner during the arrest, speak to a criminal attorney immediately.
You can only be held for a specified period of time before law enforcement needs to either release you or charge you with a crime. The time varies by state but it's usually from about 48 to 72 hours. If you spent far too much time behind bars before being released or charged, speak to an attorney.
Violation of Miranda Rights
This single Fifth Amendment protection has multiple moving parts. You must be read your Miranda Rights in its entirety. It's not just a recitation before an arrest – it spells out what must be done to make the arrest legal. Breaking down your Miranda Rights includes the following information:
1. The right to remain silent – You can never be forced to speak to law enforcement. There are a few limited questions they can ask and that you must answer, such as your name. It is law enforcement's responsibility to perform an investigation into a case, and not that of the accused.
2. The consequences of speaking – If you don't remain silent and you choose to answer questions without an attorney present, you must be told that what you say can be used against you when your case comes to trial.
3. Having an attorney present during questioning – Once you ask for an attorney, all attempts to question you must cease. You cannot be badgered or threatened if you choose to wait for an attorney. Additionally, not being able to afford an attorney is no bar to representation. The state is required to provide you with an attorney at no cost if you cannot afford legal help.
If you are questioning the manner of your arrest in any way, bring it to the attention of your criminal defense attorney at once.