What are My Legal Rights?
Many people do not question their legal rights until a police officer or other law enforcement officers interrogate them about a crime. Once criminal charges are brought against you, you become a criminal defendant regardless of guilt or innocence. You are at risk of being convicted and sentenced by the federal or state court. Therefore, you must know your rights if you or a loved one is charged with a criminal offense.
A criminal defense lawyer can explain your basic rights and fight for you to ensure they are not violated. If you do not know your rights, you can be charged and convicted of an offense you did not commit. Therefore, your attorney must see that you are lawfully treated by the police and in court. Your lawyer also works with you to get the best outcome in your case.
Blank Law, PC is a leading criminal defense law firm in Michigan that fights for those facing criminal charges. We ensure that defendants know their basic rights and protect these rights from violation while they go through the criminal justice system. We also work closely with our clients to develop aggressive defense strategies to help them beat the charges brought against them.
What are My Legal Rights?
The United States Constitution grants individuals basic rights through the Bill of Rights and multiple amendments. You must know your rights to ensure they are not breached if you are involved in the criminal justice system. A violation of these rights could lead to a dismissal or mistrial of their cases.
You have several rights under state and federal laws, including some basic rights under the First Amendment, such as religious freedom, the right to petition, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly. There are also certain rights that protect you if you have been arrested, charged, or detained concerning criminal activity. These basic rights are designed to protect you from the following:
● Unfair treatment by law enforcement agents, including unlawful detention and false imprisonment from false arrest
● Police brutality
● Abuse of your rights by the courts
● Prevention of access to legal counsel
Under federal law, you have several rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. These basic rights are contained in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. It would be best to know your rights (see: what happens if I don’t talk to a detective?).
The Fourth Amendment Shields You from Unauthorized Searches and Seizures
During a police investigation, detectives and other law enforcement agents may search the houses of suspected individuals or even seize their personal property before making an arrest. The purpose of this search is to gather evidence establishing the accused person’s guilt. However, the police can only conduct such searches if they obtain a search warrant.
Suppose you or a family member is being investigated for a crime, but you have not been arrested. In that case, the Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures. The police must reasonably suspect your involvement in the offense and have probable cause, a search warrant, or your consent to search your body, home, car, or other property.
In some cases, the police may carry out unauthorized searches and seizures because of racial profiling. Law enforcement officers sometimes target people belonging to the minority as suspects of a crime. However, many state laws, including Michigan law, have made racial profiling unlawful. For instance, the police cannot stop or pull you over for a search just because you are an African American person in a predominantly white neighborhood. They must have reasonable suspicion and a search warrant to do so.
When you do not know your rights, it becomes easy for the police to violate them since you are unaware they exist. Therefore, you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer who understands the law prohibiting illegal searches and seizures. Evidence obtained from such unauthorized conduct can be rendered inadmissible in court and would not implicate you in the case.
Consult a seasoned criminal lawyer who can advise you on your rights and prevent their violation by the police. Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a top Michigan lawyer who can protect your rights in a criminal case. Call or send a message to our legal team to arrange a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation.
You Have a Right to Silence Under the Fifth Amendment
You have probably heard police officers say “you have the right to remain silent” when arresting someone in the movies. However, this right does not merely exist in the movies. The Fifth Amendment allows you to remain silent when you have been arrested or taken into custody. These are known as the Miranda Rights.
The police are required to read the Miranda Rights to anyone they arrest or detain. The purpose of this right is to protect suspects from further or unknowingly incriminating themselves. Before arresting or filing charges against suspects, the police can and will question them to begin gathering evidence. They may do so even before reading the suspects’ Miranda Rights. Sometimes, they question the suspect before informing them of their right to silence, which is illegal.
Therefore, you should know your rights to silence once you are arrested, whether or not the police have read them. Miranda Rights extend to the period before and after you are charged. However, you must invoke the right during an interrogation. You cannot simply clam up and refuse to answer the police’s questions. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that suspects must inform the police that they are choosing to be silent in the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins.
So, if you are being investigated by the police, do not be afraid to invoke your right to silence. Contact our legal team to guide you on interacting with law enforcement agents during an interrogation. We can help you know your rights and respond to the police appropriately without incriminating you.
The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution Grants You Additional Rights
The Fifth Amendment guarantees other basic rights besides the right to remain silent. They include:
- The right to due process. You cannot be deprived of your right to life, freedom, or property without following the due legal process.
- You can be silent to avoid saying anything that could incriminate you in a criminal or civil case.
- Illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible. Suppose law enforcement agents illegally obtained evidence to establish your guilt. In that case, it cannot be used as evidence against you in court.
- You cannot be tried twice for the same offense if you were found innocent the first time. This is the rule of double jeopardy. Keep in mind that this rule does not cover appeals. An appeal can only be brought in a case where the defendant was found guilty and not where they are innocent.
The Sixth Amendment Gives You the Right to a Defense Lawyer
The Sixth Amendment allows you to consult a defense attorney if you are the subject of a police investigation or facing criminal charges. In certain situations, the court may appoint a lawyer for you if you cannot afford one. However, hiring a private attorney is always a better decision because they have more time and better resources at their disposal to defend you (see: why hire a criminal defense attorney?). Public defense attorneys are available to those who cannot afford an attorney. However, they are not always free. Learn how much a sex offender lawyer costs here.
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a skilled criminal defense lawyer who fights for those facing criminal allegations in Michigan. Once you create an attorney-client relationship with her, she will help you know your rights. She will also fight for you and ensure you are not subjected to an illegal search or seizure. In addition, Nicole will ensure that the prosecution does not present evidence against you that was illegally obtained.
Your Right to Due Process Under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments
The Sixth Amendment does not merely guarantee your right to a defense lawyer, but it also protects some other basic rights. Some of these rights include:
- Notice of allegation (you must be informed in unequivocal terms of what you are accused of and given enough time and details to prepare a defense)
- The right to confront and cross-examine accusers
- The right to a speedy trial
- The right to a public trial
- The right to an impartial jury
Additionally, every person, particularly American citizens, has the right to due process and equal treatment under the law under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment also stipulates that states must follow federal laws. It forbids the use of force, torture, or any other form of punishment by the authorities while you are in their custody.
The Police Can Infringe on Your Rights to Obtain Evidence Against You
The prosecution must establish your guilt regarding the commission of a crime beyond reasonable doubt before you will be convicted. Also, where there is hardly any evidence against you, the prosecuting attorney cannot file charges against you. As a result, the police conduct investigations and interrogations to gather evidence incriminating you.
They will convince you that they are on your side and acting in your best interests to win your trust. However, law enforcement officials are not your friends. They can and often lie and mislead defendants during interrogation. They act this way because they know they can use anything you say against you before your rights are read. A police officer may not promptly inform you of your rights.
They use deception and intimidation to get you to implicate yourself in many instances. They also attempt to win your trust by appearing pleasant if you have been arrested or taken into custody because they suspect you have violated the law. Their efforts aim to get you to confess to the crime, thus simplifying their work of getting evidence to establish guilt. Sometimes the methods they employ violate the law, which can lead to the accusation of innocent persons of criminal offenses they did not commit.
Allow Defense Attorney Nicole Blank Becker to Protect Your Constitutional Rights
You need a criminal defense attorney if you want to beat the criminal charges against you, no matter if it is a misdemeanor or felony offense. You must retain legal counsel if you want to prove your innocence or avoid being convicted. Learn what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here.
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is willing and available to fight for you. She can guide you through the criminal justice process if you want to know your rights. She can also help you create an aggressive defense to improve your chances of getting the best outcome in your case. Reach out to her to arrange a free consultation today.