Tag Archives: your rights

St. Charles Defense Attorney

When you are arrested because you are accused of a crime, it can be a frightening experience. There is the uncertainty of what will happen to you, but also a feeling that you have no control of the situation. It is important to remember you do have rights as an arrested citizen. The United States Constitution gives each and every U.S. citizen certain rights when they face criminal allegations.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

In criminal trials, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff or prosecutor to prove the defendant is guilty, rather than the defendant having to prove they are innocent. It is presumed all defendants are innocent until they are proven to be guilty of the alleged crime. Guilt must also be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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St. Charles criminal defense lawyer rightsExcept for in certain cases where there is probable cause to believe you committed a crime, you cannot be arrested until the police have a valid warrant for your arrest. This does not mean you will not interact with law enforcement before being arrested – you likely will. And during these interactions, there will be numerous opportunities for you to incriminate yourself. Successful criminal defense depends largely on avoiding self-incrimination. Keep the following tips in mind during your law enforcement interactions to avoid incriminating yourself.

Do Not Speak with Law Enforcement

If you remember nothing else about avoiding incrimination during your initial interaction with law enforcement, remember this: you have the right to remain silent. There are a few circumstances under which you are required to identify yourself to police. They are:

  • If you are stopped while driving a car, you must show your driver’s license; and
  • If you are in a public space, and law enforcement has reason to believe you were involved in a crime, they may ask you to identify yourself. If the officers have identified themselves as police officers in this circumstance, you must comply with their request.

Beyond identifying yourself, you are not required to answer any questions.

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fourth amendment, your rights, privacy, search and seizure, search warrantThe first Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution is known as the Bill of Rights. Under the Bill of Rights, Americans are guaranteed certain fundamental rights that protect them from government intervention into their personal affairs. Among those rights is the Fourth Amendment right protecting a person against unreasonable search and seizure.

The Fourth Amendment also requires that a warrant, based upon probable cause, must be issued by an impartial magistrate before the government is allowed to search any persons house, papers, or “effects.” However, there are few exceptions to this rule, which allow law enforcement into your home without a warrant, such as emergency circumstances or consent.

 The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a reasonable expectation of privacy also exists in those areas immediately surrounding a house or dwelling, known as the curtilage. This means that law enforcement cannot come up to an individual’s windows and peer in with hopes of finding contraband or incriminating evidence. It has always been within the rights of law enforcement to walk up to a person’s door and knock, looking to speak with the someone inside. However, the Supreme Court had never spoken to those times when law enforcement walks up to an individuals door with a narcotics dog and knocks, looking to speak to someone inside, until 2013 in Florida v. Jardines, 133 S.Ct. 1409 (2013).

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