People are understandably upset when their rights have not been read to them. It’s often just one part of a negative experience with police. Non-lawyers are familiar with the Miranda warnings derived from the Bill of Rights, including the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning. But you have more rights than those, many you are not aware of, and police do not always honor them. Even good cops make mistakes or push boundaries, but bad cops can be outright deceptive in violating your rights. In and around Denver, police abuses are all too common headlines. One of the greatest pleasures of being a defense attorney is upholding your constitutional rights, and holding the police accountable when your rights are violated.
Miranda and 5th Amendment Rights
Of course, the devil is always in the details, which is why you need a lawyer to determine if you can prove your rights were really violated. For example, an officer typically does not have to read you your Miranda rights unless he wants to interrogate you while you are in custody. And even if he violates that requirement, you may not have a good remedy unless he obtained incriminating evidence from that violation. But don’t give up too soon: lawyers are constantly arguing about what constitutes “custody” and “interrogation” (the concepts are more flexible than you might think) to prove a rights violation that will help a client’s case. And even if Miranda warnings were read to you prior to interrogation, your lawyer can litigate whether they were read properly, whether you actually waived those rights, whether the officers honored your requests made in response to the warnings, etc. This is a complex and evolving area of law.
4th Amendment Searches
The 4th amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure is essential to a free society, and the law requires officers to read you your rights prior to certain searches. However, police will frequently push boundaries, searching when they should not be searching at all, or searching in more areas than the law permits. They may attempt an illegal warrantless search by claiming an “emergency” that a judge would not agree with. They may dupe people into consenting to a search, knowing that most people don’t understand their rights and can be terrified when a police officer stops them and asks to search their car. In Colorado, the law requires an officer to tell you that you have a right to refuse a voluntary search, though some officers will just whisper or omit that critical advisal. If you believe a police officer exceeded his legal authority, or pressured you into consenting to a search of your clothes or car or property, call a criminal defense attorney.
How to enforce your rights
Constitutional rights should be sacred, but they are all too often ignored by law enforcement. By employing a criminal defense attorney, you can fight back. If your lawyer can prove your rights were violated, you have a chance of suppressing the state’s evidence and crippling their case against you. Even if it isn’t clear that your rights were violated, if the police behavior in your case was too aggressive or distasteful, the prosecutor may give you a better plea offer to avoid the publicity of trial.
To discuss your case, call the Law Office of Matthew Hand now: (303) 900-8480.