It’s understandable that you may be confused, alarmed, and distraught when arrested for a crime. However, it’s important to realize that both the US and California Constitutions provide you with certain rights that law enforcement cannot take away –regardless of the charges you’re facing. The challenge is knowing what your rights are, which can be a problem if you don’t have a legal background in civil liberties. While only an experienced criminal defense attorney can determine whether you’ve suffered a violation of your legal rights, here’s a checklist that provides a helpful overview on the matter.
Arresting Officers Read Your Miranda Rights
Under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, you have the right to remain silent so as to not incriminate yourself when questioned about a crime. Police are required to protect you against self-incrimination by reading your Miranda warning, so that you can make an informed choice about whether you want to answer when faced with direct questioning. If you were not read your Miranda rights or were coerced into talking, your rights were violated.
You Were Allowed to Request an Attorney
All persons under arrest have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning and throughout the trial process. Part of your Miranda warning will include a statement that you have the right to an attorney if you request one, so denial of that request may signal a violation of your civil rights.
You Were Not Questioned Without the Presence of a Lawyer
After you’ve requested to have an attorney present during questioning, law enforcement officers are prohibited from trying to elicit information from you in his or her absence. This rule is especially important if you were questioned once with your lawyer, and then police try to talk to you on a separate occasion. Your right to have an attorney present applies at all times after you’ve made the request – not just the initial interview.
Officers Charged You Within the Time Required by Law
Authorities cannot hold you for an extended period of time without formally charging you with a crime. After your arrest on suspicion of a crime, you must be charged within 48 hours if police are holding you; if you’re detained for longer and not charged, there may be a violation of your constitutional rights.
Discuss Your Case with a Stockton Criminal Defense Attorney Today
This isn’t an exclusive checklist of possible violations of your constitutional rights, but it does cover some of the most important aspects that you need to know after an arrest in California. If you do believe officials infringed upon your civil liberties, it’s important to retain an experienced lawyer right away: You may be able to beat the charges and have them dismissed if the violation damages the prosecutor’s case against you. If you have questions about your constitutional rights when you were under arrest, please call or contact the Jacot Law Firm in Stockton, CA today. We can set up a free case consultation to see how our criminal defense attorneys can help protect your interests.