What Are My Legal Rights?

The United States Constitution and state rights protect individuals who are under investigation, have been arrested for or charged with a crime, or are in custody. Certain rights protect individuals:

  • From being unfairly treated by members of law enforcement and police brutality; and
  • From illegal detention, false imprisonment/arrest
  • To ensure your rights are not abused by the courts and that legal representation is available.
Individuals Who Have Not Been Arrested Are Protected from Illegal Search and Seizure by the Fifth Amendment

You have the right to be protected from illegal search and seizure by law enforcement when you have not been arrested. In order for police to search your person, property, home, or vehicle or seize property, they must have reasonable suspicion, probable cause, your permission, or a search warrant. Police cannot pull over an individual or stop someone on the street due to that person's race or ethnicity, otherwise known as "racial profiling." It is vital that if you are arrested, you consult with a skilled and knowledgeable defense lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with the nuances of search and seizure laws.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent Under the Fifth Amendment - Miranda Rights

Most people are familiar with "Miranda Rights," whether on television or other media. Police have to read your Miranda Rights; they are required to do this under the law, but only once you have been taken into custody. However, before reading you these rights police are likely to question you regarding a crime in their effort to collect incriminating information, even before you have been arrested or charged. You do have the right to remain silent before you are charged with a crime and even afterward under the Fifth Amendment, however you do have to verbally inform the police that you are choosing to remain silent and invoking your right not to answer questions.

It is critical to keep in mind that once your Miranda Rights are read, anything you say can be used against you; in addition, any information you provide prior to your rights being read can be used against you. In effect, you may be helping police build a case against you by answering questions or offering information by saying something incriminating, even though you do not realize it. Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense firm immediately for assistance.

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution Provides You Other Rights as Well
  • You have the right to refuse to say anything in a state or federal court criminal or civil proceeding that may incriminate you.
  • You have the right to due process. This means that you should receive fair treatment and respect from governing bodies during the criminal justice process. You cannot be deprived of "life, liberty, or property" without "due process of law."
  • Double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same charge) is illegal when an individual was found to be innocent the first time. While you have the right to appeal a guilty verdict as a defendant, the state cannot appeal a "not guilty" verdict.
  • Evidence obtained by police or law enforcement agencies in an illegal manner may not be used against you as evidence in court.
The Sixth Amendment Protects Your Right to a Lawyer

Every person who is charged with a criminal offense has the right to a lawyer, or to be appointed an attorney (public defender) when the defendant cannot afford an attorney under the Sixth Amendment. Many people are under the impression that public defenders are provided by the court at no charge, however this is not always the case. Hiring a private attorney is preferable because the defendant gets the personal attention, time, and resources necessary to obtain a favorable outcome.

Your Rights to Due Process - Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment Rights

Additional rights are protected for those accused of crimes under the Sixth Amendment, including:

  • The right to a speedy trial, public trial, and impartial jury; and
  • You have the right to confront or even cross-examine those who accuse you of a crime.
  • Notice of accusation. When charged with a crime, you have the right to be told in clear terms what you are being charged with; in addition, you must be given sufficient time and information so that you can prepare a defense.

The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides equal protection to all individuals and the right to due process. This amendment also states that while an individual is in police custody, police are prohibited from punishing you using torture, force, or other means.

Let the Justice Firm Protect Your Constitutional Rights

We know that police and other law enforcement officials will attempt to secure your confidence and make you believe they are trying to help you. Police officers are not your friends, and will sometimes fail to advise you in a timely manner of your legal rights due to the fact they know that anything you may say prior to your rights being read may be used against you.

We recommend that you do not provide any information to law enforcement after being arrested other than your identity. You have a right to speak with an attorney before you answer any questions, or provide any information; you may refuse to be interrogated by police. If you have not been charged with a criminal offense but police are questioning you, do not hesitate before hiring a capable defense attorney. Contact The Justice Firm today at (310) 914-2444.