Do You Know Your Rights?

No one plans to be arrested for a criminal offense; however, you could find yourself the subject of a criminal investigation or find yourself being placed under arrest at any time and for any reason. Remember, the police are not perfect – they do make mistakes. Therefore, you don't have to have committed a crime to become a suspect or even to be arrested and charged with the crime. Consequently, even law abiding citizens should be prepared for a confrontation with the police. Are you prepared? Do you know your rights? If you do not know your rights, you should.

Like most people, you have undoubtedly heard "Miranda" warnings given to a suspect on one of the numerous police dramas on television or in a Hollywood blockbuster on the big screen. Hearing those rights read to a suspect, however, may not be enough for you to fully understand them. In addition, Miranda does not require a law enforcement officer to inform you of all the rights you have. Some of the most important rights you have when interacting with the police and/or as a defendant include:

  • Right to remain silent – you have a right against self-incrimination in the U.S., meaning you cannot be forced to say anything that might be used as evidence against you. You may invoke this right during police questioning and once invoked the police cannot force you to answer a question; however, to invoke your right you must clearly say something to the effect of "I invoke my 5th Amendment right to remain silent".
  • Right to an attorney – in a criminal investigation/prosecution you have a right to be represented by an attorney. If you cannot afford one the court will appoint one for you. Do not answer questions, consent to searches, or otherwise cooperate in a police investigation until consulting with an attorney.
  • ight to confront witnesses against you – in other words, people cannot simply accuse you of a crime without informing you of the identity of the witness and allowing you the opportunity to cross-examine the witness.
  • Right to reasonable bond – with very few exceptions you have the right to be released from custody while your case is bending by paying a reasonable bond. If the initial bond set is too high for you to pay your attorney may be able to request a reduction to an amount that is reasonable.
  • Right to be secure in your home and person – search and seizure law is very complex; however, your home remains the most heavily protected with regard to searches and seizures. As a general rule, a warrant, based on probable cause, is required before the police can search your home. The most commonly used exception to that rule is consent. If you consent to a search a warrant is not needed. Do not consent without first consulting with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, or are the subject of a criminal investigation, in the State of New York it is important that you consult with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney right away to evaluate your case and get started on your defense. Contact the Law Offices of Adam Thompson today by calling (212)267-2424 to schedule your appointment.