Being arrested can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. For those who find themselves amid these unwelcome set of events, it is important to understand that the American legal system, as well as the United States Constitution, establishes a number of laws and regulations for arresting protocol and procedure. Additionally, anyone who is arrested for any type of criminal offense has legal rights – including the right to be treated innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
As understanding your rights is of such crucial importance, and because taking the right steps and avoiding mistakes during an arrest can help your future case and defense, our firm’s Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers have taken the time to help local Oklahomans better understand their rights before, during, and after an arrest. Some of the most essential rights you should know when facing an arrest or criminal allegation include the following:
BEFORE & DURING AN ARREST
When you are confronted by a law enforcement officer, remaining calm and aware of your rights is vital to protecting the future strength of your case. Under the U.S. Constitution, you are given several important rights that you can exercise before and during an arrest.
First and foremost, you have the right to remain silent. In fact, your right to remain silent may very well be the most important right you possess as an American. By politely declining to discuss the circumstances surrounding your arrest with a law enforcement officer, you reduce your risk of saying the wrong thing or saying things that can be used to incriminate you later. In relation to your right to remain silent, you also have the right to request an attorney and to speak with your attorney before discussing your case with any law enforcement officer. By exercising your Fifth Amendment right and by working with an attorney as soon as possible, you can ensure that you do not say, do, or write anything that can be used against you in a court of law. You may also exercise your Fifth Amendment right during trial.
Aside from your right to remain silent, you also have the right to ask law enforcement officers why you have been stopped or why you are under scrutiny. Your protection against search and seizure is a tricky matter. Generally, law enforcement officers can legally search or frisk you without a warrant when they have reasonable suspicion. When approaching your home, however, they must typically have a search warrant. Again, these instances can be complicated issues that vary from case to case.
AFTER AN ARREST
After an arrest, you also have the right to know why you were arrested and the charges that will be brought against you. You have the right to be treated fairly and humanely, to have someone notified of your arrest, and to speak with your lawyer – or to have one appointed to you. Additionally, whenever you are formally charged with a criminal offense, you will have the right to due process, meaning that the court and law enforcement officers must respect all of your legal rights. Procedurally, you have the right to state your side of the story in a court of law, to provide evidence that supports your innocence, and the right to a fair and timely trial.
EXPERIENCED OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL LAWYERS BY YOUR SIDE
By retaining the assistance and representation of a lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest, you can ensure that your rights will be protected. Your rights can be a powerful tool when exercised appropriately and correctly. Attorneys who have spent collective decades representing individuals accused with a variety of crimes know precisely how to help you explore all of your legal options and assert your rights in your best interests.
At Atkins & Markoff, our legal team makes it a point to fully educate our clients about their rights, inform them about the criminal process, and walk them through each stage of their legal journey. In addition, we are also equipped with the necessary experience and skills to defend you against the charges and penalties you face. If you would like to learn more about your rights during and after an arrest, or if you wish to discuss your case with a member of our legal team, do not hesitate to contact our firm today.