Know Your Rights: Criminal Cases in Rockville
Below, a criminal defense attorney in Rockville discusses some of the major aspects of one’s rights that someone should know when speaking to law enforcement officers in different situations. It is important to know your rights so that you do not incriminate yourself. To learn more or discuss the specifics of your case call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today. Here are your rights in some specific situations:
Officers Arrive At Your Home to Ask You Questions
In this situation you always have the right to remain silent, however, you also have the right to refuse entry to police officers unless they come with a warrant. If there is a warrant you have to let them into your house, but you do not have to answer any questions. Regardless of what kind of paperwork law enforcement comes with to your house, they can never force you to answer any questions.
To refuse entry to officers you simply tell them that you do not wish to let me into your home unless they have a warrant to do so.
Why Not Let Them In and Show You Have Nothing to Hide?
Overall, the point of a search is for the officers to look for something specific, however, in this case they could stumble onto other things that might not have originally been in their request for search but could be used against you. Most people don’t like for strangers to be in their homes, conducting searches on their property, particularly when they may be being investigating for something criminally related. It’s just a good idea to reject this search into your home because you never know what they’ll be able to find.
When officers come to search your home, they really do a thorough search of everything including your personal items. Your property will be disheveled. So making a decision about not allowing them in your home protects your rights and also protects your possessions.
A Law Enforcement Officer Stops You On The Street To Ask You a Question
If a police officer stops you on the street, you have the right not to answer the police officer’s questions. You have the right to tell the officer that you wish to remain silent and you have the right to continue to move away from the officer. You are not required to answer the officer’s questions. You’re not even required to stop unless that officer gives you good reason for a stop.
Even though you may not have done anything wrong in your mind, the officer may be looking for information that you have no idea he was looking for. Sometimes, people answer questions in a way that they believe to be completely innocuous and it ends up being the exact statement the officer was looking for to complete his formal set of charges. For this reason, it’s extremely important to remain silent no matter what and speak to counsel with an attorney before answering any questions to the officer.
How Do You Know If You’re in Custody, Detained, or Just Being Asked a Question?
If you do not speak to the officer, there won’t be an issue about whether you’re in custody or not at the time that you’re being questioned. If however you do tell the officer something, an attorney will have to dissect whether or not you’re in custody at the time that you’re being questioned or whether you are free to leave to determine whether or not any kind of arrest had taken place, a seizure had taken place, and the officer is required to give you some kind of Miranda warning before asking you questions.
As a result it is simply important that you do not speak to an officer unless you consult with an attorney first.