What are My Rights?

MAKING SURE THAT YOU ARE PROTECTED

If you have been arrested by law enforcement and accused of committing a crime, you are likely wondering what your rights are as a defendant. First and foremost, it is the obligation of the arresting officer to verbally inform you of the basic rights that you maintain after being detained. Also known as a “Miranda warning,” you should have been told that you have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to be appointed a public defender if you cannot afford legal representation. As such, it is within your power to refuse to make a statement of any sort to a law enforcement official without first consulting an attorney. Failing to stay silent could prove to be detrimental to your case later on, as anything that you say can be used against you during your subsequent criminal trial. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you enlist the help of a legal professional as soon as you are able.

FOURTH & SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS

Next, it is important to understand your rights under the Fourth and Sixth amendments of the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment was put in place to protect citizens from unreasonable searched and seizures, meaning that law enforcement must obtain a warrant supported by probable cause if they would like to look through your car and/or home, as well as to collect DNA evidence from you. Although the need for a warrant can be waived if the suspect gives their permission to an officer and allows for the search to be conducted, if permission is denied, any evidence that is discovered without a valid warrant can be thrown out and ruled unconstitutional. If you believe that you were subjected to an illegal search, it is vital that you discuss this with your lawyer so that they can work to have any uncovered evidence suppressed.

Similarly, the Sixth Amendment allows for you to undergo a speedy and public trial. This means that you have the right to try your case in front of an impartial jury in the state and the district in which the alleged crime was committed, as well as to confront any witnesses who will be testifying against you, to be informed of the nature of the accusations that have been made against you, to obtain witnesses that will testify on your behalf, and to be represented by a lawyer for the duration of your trial. If you believe that any of these rights have been violated during the course of your trial or at the time of your arrest and detainment, you should not hesitate to bring this to the attention of your legal representation immediately, as this may be essential to the success of your case.

BEING ARRESTED DOES NOT PROVE THAT YOU ARE GUILTY

What many people do not realize is that being arrested and accused of committing a crime does not automatically prove guilt. Although public perceptions may lead you to assume that a person is guilty if they have been arrested and charged with a serious offense, it is important to understand that you are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of your peers. Just because you have the right to a fair trial, however, does not mean that you will not face a wrongful conviction. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system can be skewed by false or coerced confessions, mistaken identifications, false testimony and/or invalid or circumstantial evidence, so it is important that you enlist the help of a criminal lawyer who truly understands how to protect your rights from the beginning. If you believe that you have, in fact, been wrongfully convicted, however, there are ways in which to appeal the verdict.

CONSULT A HOUSTON CRIMINAL LAWYER

Following an arrest, you should not hesitate to act quickly in the interest of your defense. Start today by consulting a knowledgeable Houston criminal attorney from Jim Medley & Associates P.C. With more than 20 years of legal experience in protecting the rights of the criminally accused, the firm has helped countless individuals to avoid the severe ramifications of a guilty verdict in a range of cases, from resisting arrest to driving while intoxicated. For this reason, you can rest easier knowing that you will have someone on your side who will utilize all possible resources and devise a solid defense strategy in your favor when you retain the services of attorney Jim Medley. Contact his office today or submit a free case evaluation and a legal professional at the firm will review your circumstances immediately.