Your Rights in a Criminal Investigation
Being charged with a crime can be an overwhelming experience. The investigation leading up to arrest and subsequent evidence gathering can be confusing. You may be unsure of what you should do and how to interact with the police and investigators. It’s important to know that during a criminal investigation, you have rights.
For more information about your rights in a criminal investigation, contact our Jersey City criminal defense lawyers at Bhatt Law Group. We can help you navigate the complicated investigation and criminal justice process. Call us today at (201) 798-8000.
Many of your rights in a criminal investigation are represented in the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, including:
Fourth Amendment Rights
The purpose of the Fourth Amendment is to protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. It states that, except in certain circumstances, police must obtain a search warrant prior to searching you, your home, or your car. In order to get a search warrant, the police must properly request one from a judge. The judge will only issue a warrant if the police officer establishes probable cause that the evidence of a crime will be found on the person or premises that they would like to search.
While the search is being performed, the police must stay within the scope of the warrant. For instance, if the warrant is for drugs, the police do have the right to go through drawers and cupboards. However, if the warrant is for a stolen automobile, the police cannot go through drawers and cupboards and other places that would be too small to hide a car.
Fifth Amendment Rights
Many people have heard the term “pleading the fifth” but do not know what it means. This phrase refers to the Fifth Amendment, which states that nobody can be forced to provide evidence or bear witness against themselves in a criminal case. If the police ask you if you’ve committed a crime and answering would incriminate you, you can remain silent.
The Fifth Amendment relates to the Miranda warning that law enforcement officers must state when arresting someone. The Miranda warning states: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney during any questioning.” When being questioned by the police, you have a right to remain silent and seek legal assistance. You should never answer questions about the crime until you’ve consulted with an attorney.
Sixth Amendment Rights
The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to an attorney during interrogation, trial, sentencing, and the initial appeal of a conviction. It also guarantees that you have the right to a jury, the right to have the jury listen to all witnesses and see all evidence, the right to be present during your trial, and the right to question any witnesses who are building a case against you. In addition, it gives you the right to have your own witnesses, the right to testify yourself, and the right to have the state prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Protect Your Rights
During a criminal investigation, it’s crucial that you exercise your right to hire a criminal defense lawyer from Bhatt Law Group. With legal representation by your side, you can ensure that your Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights are protected and reduce your chances of a criminal conviction. If you hire a criminal defense attorney from our firm, you can count on them to represent you during every step of the investigation.
Contact Bhatt Law Group Today
If you are being investigated for a crime, it is in your best interest to call Bhatt Law Group at (201) 798-8000 for a free consultation. We will make sure your rights are respected, and we will work tirelessly to secure a favorable case outcome on your behalf.