Arrested? Know Your Rights

by zizinya on March 7, 2013

(US criminal law) It just makes good sense to understand your legal rights in the event that you are ever arrested. It’s especially important that you understand your Miranda Rights. If you’ve been arrested or fear that an arrest is imminent, you will need the professional representation of an experience criminal law attorney.

What Constitutes an Arrest?

The definition of an arrest entails more than being handcuffed and escorted to the police station. Technically, you are under arrest anytime a law enforcement officer deprives you of your personal freedom. If a reasonable person would conclude that they are not permitted to leave, such a circumstance constitutes an arrest.

Legal Detentions

The police are permitted to temporarily detain members of the community under certain circumstances. A perfect example is detaining the driver of a motor vehicle for the purpose of issuing a traffic citation. This is also true for many criminal misdemeanor violations. Though temporary detentions do not constitute an official arrest, they may trigger a police officer’s right to search a suspect.

How is an Arrest Made?

The police must have probable cause that someone has committed a crime to make an arrest. Probable cause is generally established after completing a police investigation. If the arrest is made at someone’s personal residence, an arrest warrant is generally required. Arrest warrants are issued by a judge after probable cause has been established.

The arresting police officers must also knock and announce their intention to make an arrest. A search warrant may not be required if evidence is about to be destroyed or someone is in danger.

Miranda Rights

Anyone who is arrested and interrogated by police in the United States must be apprised of their Miranda Rights. Police also have the right to search the individual they are arresting in order to seize evidence and protect their personal safety. Every suspect should be advised of the following rights before being questioned:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • You have the right to have an attorney present when we question you. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
  • If you waive these rights and talk to us, anything you say may be used against you in court.
  • Do you understand these rights?

A police officer is not required to read these rights to a suspect if the suspect has not been arrested, or the suspect was arrested but not questioned.

After an Arrest

There are several ways to gain one’s freedom following an arrest. Depending upon the available evidence, all criminal charges may be dismissed. The other paths to freedom are posting bail, being released on a suspect’s own recognizance or proving one’s innocence in a court of law. A plea bargain may also be negotiated on behalf of a suspect by a criminal defense attorney.

If you have been arrested or are the target of a criminal investigation, a qualified criminal law attorney can help protect your legal rights or secure your freedom. The personal rights of criminal suspects vary from state to state. A criminal defense attorney is familiar with the laws of your state and the legal procedures necessary to protect your future.

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