In recent months, police officers have been placed under extreme scrutiny for the way that they treat civilians, specifically, people of color. Across the country, protests and marches have been taking place since late May in response to the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed during an arrest when an officer knelt on his windpipe for eight minutes. Though each police department has its own rules, there are certain regulations that all officers must abide by. Unfortunately, not all police officers are good people who follow the rules, resulting in illegal arrests, unlawful actions toward the suspect, and in extreme cases, death. The United States Constitution provides many of these rights if you have been arrested for a crime. It is important that you understand these rights, as they can be a useful tool when defending your criminal case.
Understanding Your Miranda Rights
If you have ever watched TV shows or movies that deal with police officers or the criminal justice system, you may have heard the term “Miranda rights” before. These are rights that are legally required to be read to you before you are interrogated or questioned so the officers are aware that you understand your rights and the consequences of ignoring them. Typically, an officer will relay these Miranda rights to a suspect in a similar format during or after an arrest:
You have the right to remain silent.
If you choose not to remain silent, anything you say to the police can and will be used as evidence against you in court.
You have the right to ask for an attorney to be present before you answer any questions.
If you are unable to afford a private attorney, a public defender will be assigned to you.
Right Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
Another right that the Constitution gives us is the right to avoid unreasonable searches. This right is contained in the Fourth Amendment and has been interpreted to mean that police do not have the right to search your person, home, or vehicle without a search warrant. Though there are exceptions to that rule, in general, you do not have to consent to a search of your person if a police officer asks you to do so. If the officer still proceeds to conduct a search or pat-down, he or she must have reason to believe that you are armed and are a threat. If the search happens to also produce contraband, the evidence may be inadmissible if the search was illegal.
Right to Fair Treatment by Police
Another right that you have is fair treatment by police, no matter what. The use of excessive force by police has been a topic of concern for many in the past couple of years, especially when involving suspects who are people of color. Police officers are permitted to use force when it is necessary to contain a suspect, protect other people, or protect their own lives, but many officers use force when force is not warranted.
Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Criminal Defense Attorney
Being arrested can be a frightening experience, especially if you have never been arrested before. There are many ways that your rights could be violated during your involvement with the criminal justice system, which is why it is so important that you understand those rights. If you believe that your rights were violated during your arrest, you should speak with our knowledgeable Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law has been practicing criminal law for decades and has the experience needed to hold those accountable for violating your rights. Call our office today at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free consultation.