Arrests: Your Rights and the Law is something every person should know. Every American citizen has the same rights regardless of the crime committed. If you are ever arrested and charged with a criminal offense, there are several amendments to the U.S. Constitution that will protect your rights. These amendments are part of what make up the Bill of Rights which came about because of abuses before and during the American Revolution.
The amendments pertaining to your basic rights as an American citizen are the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Fourth Amendment
This Amendment has to do with probable cause. It protects you from unwarranted search and seizure of your property and your person, and from being arrested without probable cause. The police or prosecutor must show enough information that a crime took place in order to obtain a search and seizure warrant or make an arrest without a warrant.
The Fifth Amendment
This gives you the right to remain silent during any questioning by the police thus protecting you against self-incrimination. It does not allow double jeopardy, which means facing trial twice for the same crime. If you are found not guilty in a criminal case, the prosecution cannot overturn the acquittal and try the same case again to get a more favorable result. There is a loophole with double jeopardy. If the crime committed breaks both state and federal law, you will go to trial once in state court and again in federal court. Although this is possible it is highly unlikely, and is very rare when it happens. The government must also give you due process of the law by obeying its own laws and fairly using the same laws for the people of this country.
The Sixth Amendment
This gives you the right to a speedy trial and have an attorney represent you in a court of law. It also gives you the right to call witnesses and cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses.
The Eighth Amendment
This protects you against cruel and unusual punishment which the state government determines.
The Fourteenth Amendment
This gives all people equal protection under the law. The government cannot discriminate against anyone for anything. Every defendant has the same rights regardless of the crime committed.
So there you have it, those are your basic rights if you get arrested. The Miranda Warning sums it up by saying ” You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one is appointed for you at the government’s expense.”
An arrest can occur without the Miranda Warning, but during questioning is a different matter. Its’ purpose is to protect you against self-incrimination only and will not protect you against getting arrested.
It is important you know your legal rights during an arrest, because mistakes happen and it is possible for the police to violate your rights. It doesn’t occur often but it does happen. It will greatly help your case if you can recognize a violation when it takes place. Your attorney can explain in more detail about your rights when an arrest occurs, and remember, your attorney is there to protect your rights and ensure you get a fair trial so speak freely without reservation.
It is in your best interest to contact us if you have questions or need more information concerning your rights including your rights if charged with domestic violence.