The Constitution grants every criminal defendant in the United States important legal rights. Many of these rights apply long before a person is ever formally charged with a crime. Of course, the average Lake County resident is not expected to be an expert in constitutional law or matters of proper criminal procedure. This is why it is so important to hire your own criminal defense lawyer as soon as you become aware of a criminal investigation against you. An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Lake County, IN, can help protect your constitutional rights at all stages of an investigation, charging, court proceedings, and if necessary, on an appeal.
So what are these important constitutional rights? They start with the Fourth Amendment, which protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures by government officials. Searches of your personal property or the seizure of incriminating evidence are prohibited unless an officer has a warrant signed by a judge (requiring probable cause) or a valid exception to the warrant requirement. Prohibited search areas include homes, vehicles, and any place over which you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Police can search public areas, or seize evidence that is no longer in your possession (for example, if it has been thrown away and is now in a landfill) without a warrant.
The Fifth Amendment protects citizens against self-incrimination. This means that the government cannot force you to testify against yourself at trial. It also means that you cannot be forced to give an incriminating confession during police interrogation. The Supreme Court strengthened this protection in the 1960s by requiring law enforcement agents to give the famous Miranda Warning before interrogating any suspect in police custody. This warning specifically advises suspects that they have the right to remain silent while in police custody and that they do not have to tell the police any incriminating information about the case. As television has taught us, the Miranda Warning also requires police to advise suspects that they have the right to an attorney. This is due to the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of the right to counsel.
If your constitutional rights have been violated, your attorney can work to suppress any evidence that was obtained as a result of a violation. If a suppression leaves the prosecutor without adequate evidence against you, your attorney may even be able to have your case dismissed altogether. This is not a common occurrence. Many cases result in convictions, and it is important to understand how a Lake County defense lawyer can help mitigate the consequences of a criminal conviction, in order to give you a better chance at making a fresh start once your case is over.
At Arshad, Pangere & Warring, our defense attorneys are experienced in handling many different types of criminal cases. We fight hard to protect our clients’ constitutional rights at every step of a criminal investigation and court proceedings. Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Lake County criminal defense attorneys.
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