As a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, I am consistently asked what you can and can’t do when interacting with law enforcement offices.
✋ In short, what are my rights?
Knowing your rights can be the difference between a dismissal and a conviction so I want to take a moment to offer you some free legal advice.
1. Consent to Search
Often times, people find themselves in a situation where a law enforcement officer is requesting permission to search their home or vehicle. If you are unfamiliar with the system, it is easy to think that you have no choice but to acquit. People also make the mistake of allowing officers to enter their home or car because they feel like they have nothing to hide, but allowing the police to search your home without a warrant can put you at risk if they were to find something that could incriminate you.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that you have the right to Secure yourself and your home from unreasonable searches and seizures. In Indiana, law enforcement officers can only enter your home if they have a warrant, have consent, or there is an emergency. You do not have to grant law enforcement officers access to your home if they don’t have a warrant and make no mistake— if officers have the probable cause required to attain a warrant, they will.
Similarly, officers will often ask for consent to search your vehicle subsequent to a traffic stop and can legally use deceptive tactics to get you to consent to a search. No matter what an officer says, you have an absolute right to refuse a search of your car unless the officer has probable cause. If you have questions about whether an officer had probable cause, call attorney Rebecca Gray today.
Call attorney Rebecca Gray today to see if the evidence obtained from the search of your vehicle or home was obtained in a way that violated your Fourth Amendment rights. She is well versed in Fourth Amendment law and will be able to review your case and file the appropriate motion to get evidence thrown out and declared unusable at trial. She is available 24/7 for you today.
2. Miranda Rights
If you have ever watched an episode of Law and Order, you have heard the Miranda rights. Miranda rights protect your Fifth Amendment privilege against self -incrimination and include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
A. THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
Have you ever heard that “silence is golden?” This phrase is especially true in the context of a criminal investigation. While it is always important to be polite to officers and identify yourself, please know that you don’t have to talk to police and you shouldn’t. The right to remain silent is so pivotal to the American justice system, that if you invoke your right to remain silent, the state cannot use that invocation against you at trial.
As a former prosecutor, I have the utmost respect for law enforcement, but it is important to note they have a job to do. Their job is to investigate a crime, arrest a subject, and help the State get the conviction. They want a confession. Law enforcement officers will often tell subjects that they are their friend, “understand” what happened, or will “put in a good word to the prosecutor” if they speak to them. As tempting as it is, you still should asset your right to remain silent in these situations.
Remaining silent is crucial to creating a strong defense.
B. THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY
You have the right to have an attorney present during interactions with law enforcement. To invoke your right to an attorney, your invocation must be “clear” and “unequivocal” (see my blog post about lawyer dog to see just how clear and unequivocal you have to be). I would suggest using the phrase “I am invoking my right to an attorney now.”
Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side at the inception of your case is of the utmost importance. Attorney Rebecca Gray is available day or night. She will make sure that she is by your side to construct an effective defense strategy from the get-go. Call her 24/7 for a free consultation today!
C. WERE YOUR RIGHTS VIOLATED?
Do not let law enforcement officers take advantage of you. Assert your rights immediately.
✋ If you were not informed or advised of your rights or believe that your rights were violated, speak with Rebecca Gray immediately.