While most citizens know they have the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to privacy in their own home, they do not fully understand what these rights mean. Add in the fear of crossing a police officer and it is no mystery why so many fail to fully exercise their rights during an arrest. Do not make the same mistake! Learn what rights you have under the law, and how you can exercise them, should you ever be arrested.
Your Right to Privacy and Proper Procedure
As a U.S. citizen, the Fourth Amendment protects you from an unwarranted invasion of your privacy. This broadly encompassing amendment means that an officer cannot legally perform a search or seizure of your vehicle, home, or person without your permission or probable cause. If you give them consent – either verbally or implied – they can and will attempt to use anything they find as evidence. So do not invite an officer into your home, do not “secure” your vehicle, and do not hand over your keys when they ask. To add an extra layer of protection, you can also verbally say (as loudly as possible) that you do NOT give them permission to search your vehicle. If any bystanders hear you, their testimony could be used as mitigating evidence in your case.
Your Right to Remain Silent
Failing to remain silent is one of the most common and most incriminating mistakes that arrested individuals make. They try to explain their innocence, start blurting out questions that incriminate them, give away information that they do not have to, or otherwise say something that can be used as evidence against them. From the moment that an officer pulls you over, stops you, or approaches you, you have the right to exercise silence. You do not have to answer when they ask about the joint in your ashtray, give them your address when they ask, or try to explain why you ran the stoplight. You do not have to say anything at all.
Your Right to an Attorney
Often, those who are facing possible charges do not know when they can exercise their right to an attorney. This is partly because law enforcement is not required to ask you if you want your lawyer present since that right is expressed when they read you your Miranda rights. This means the burden is on you to request one. When should you? The answer to this is simple: you request your attorney the moment you are taken into custody or pulled in for questioning. Again, do not say anything until your attorney arrives.
Once you contact our firm, we will help to ensure that all of your other legal rights are protected. We will also work aggressively to mitigate your charges. No matter what situation you are facing, we fight for the most favorable outcome in your case. Call 815-470-4025 to speak with an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney today.