Even if you believe that you will never be approached by the police regarding a crime, it can happen. And just in case, you should always be prepared. While you may never expect the police to contact or stop you regarding a crime, you should know your rights during these interactions. Let’s discuss what every citizen should know so they can act appropriately and protect themselves.
There are many constitutional rights that apply with regard to the police.
- First Amendment: This amendment gives citizens the right to free speech and protest. It also allows citizens to record the police, as long as they are not interfering with police duties.
- Fourth Amendment: This amendment gives citizens protection against illegal search and seizure. In other words, the police cannot search you or your belongings at any time, for any reason.
- Fifth Amendment: Many people know the major right granted by this amendment - the right to remain silent. This right also protects you from double jeopardy and allows all citizens due process.
- Sixth and Seventh Amendments: These give everyone accused of a crime the right to a fair trial and the right to legal counsel.
- Eighth Amendment: Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and protection from excessive bail.
The Miranda Warning was created with the goal of informing citizens of their rights. However, this warning is only required to be read under certain circumstances. The police only have a duty to recite this warning when the suspect is in custody and subject to interrogation.
The Miranda Warning is “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
While this warning is only required to be read after an arrest is made, the rights stated within the warning are applicable beforehand as well. This is why all citizens should know their rights prior to hearing them from a police officer.
Why You Need To Know Your Rights
Knowing your rights has many benefits. The clearest benefit is that by knowing your rights, you can protect yourself. For example, if you did not know that you can refuse a warrantless search, you may give the officer consent to search your vehicle because you think you have to. Once your consent has been given, anything they find may be used against you in a criminal case. By knowing when you can say “no” to the police, you give yourself more power.
Not only does knowing your rights give you more power and control, but it can also give you confidence. Interacting with the police can be stress-inducing, even for people who aren’t suspected of committing a crime. When you know your rights, you’ll feel more confident throughout your interaction and thereafter.
If Your Rights Were Violated
If you were not read your Miranda Rights, or if the police acted outside of their authority, it can impact your case.
If your defense attorney can confirm that police misconduct took place and led to your arrest:
- Evidence collected against you may be inadmissible
- Verbal statements you made after being arrested may be inadmissible (if you were not Mirandized)
- Your case may be dismissed due to insufficient, valid evidence
If you believe the police collected evidence against you illegally, tell your defense attorney as soon as possible.
Daytona Beach Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have recently been charged with a crime near Daytona Beach, give Hager & Schwartz, P.A. a call at (386) 693-1637. We can review all aspects of your arrest to ensure your rights were not violated. If they were, we can collect further evidence to prove this in court. Our goal is to save you from a criminal conviction, and we will do everything in our power to do so.