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Common rights violations in criminal investigations

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When you’re under investigation for criminal wrongdoing, it can feel like law enforcement is bearing down on you to the point that you don’t have any rights. But regardless of how the police act during a criminal investigation, you have legal protections meant to protect you from unfair policing and overzealous investigatory practices.

All too often, though, individuals who are under investigation crack under the pressure, failing to take advantage of their rights. If this happens to you, then the police and prosecutors might use illegally obtained evidence to convict you. This, in turn, can result in the imposition of severe penalties, including incarceration.

Yet, the burden is on you to ensure that your rights are protected. So, as the criminal investigation proceeds, you need to be cognizant of your rights and what you can do when they’ve been violated.

To properly act on your rights, you have to know what those rights are. Here are some that you’ll want to pay particularly close attention to as the criminal investigation implicating you moves forward:

  • Unreasonable searches and seizures: You have Constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally speaking, this means that the police must have a warrant before searching your person, car, or home. While there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement, the police often misuse them. When this happens and the police conduct a warrantless search, your Constitutional rights have been violated. If you can point this out to a judge, then you’ll likely be able to block any evidence collected during an illegal search from being used against you in court.
  • Miranda rights: When you’re subjected to custodial interrogation, the police are required to inform you of your Miranda rights. This includes the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. If the police fail to inform you of these rights prior to interrogation, then any incriminating statements that you make are obtained in violation of your rights. This means that you can then block those statements from being used at trial. Remember, though, that you only have to be informed of these rights if you’ve been taken into custody and are subsequently questioned. So, look out for the police trying to find ways to question you without having to inform you of your rights.
  • Due process: If criminal charges are levied against you, the U.S. Constitution requires that you be given due process. This means that you can be meaningfully heard in your case, and that you’ll be treated fairly. Far too often, though, due process violations occur, trampling your rights and putting you at risk of being wrongly convicted. This could happen when you have a biased judge, the prosecution fails to provide you with exculpatory evidence that could raise doubt as to your guilt, or the court erroneously admits illegally obtained evidence. You need to be on your toes and be prepared to call out these due process violations.

There’s a lot on the line when you’ve been charged with a criminal offense. To protect yourself as aggressively as you can, be sure to assess every criminal defense option available to you. By doing so, you might find several opportunities to attack the prosecution’s case, thereby giving yourself a chance of beating the charges levied against you. Hopefully then you can reclaim your normal life and put this dark chapter behind you.