Investigations Into Criminal Charges in California
Investigations into Criminal Charges
Even though you have not yet been arrested or charged with a crime you still have rights that need protected. When under investigation for committing a crime, it is important you know what rights you have and how to invoke them. Some of these rights include:
Right to Privacy –
You always have a right to privacy. However, how much privacy you have is all dependent on the circumstances. At the most basic level, you are entitled to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.
This means that the government cannot search you or your vehicle without probable cause. Having an attorney review the government’s conduct can greatly increase your chances of having illegally obtained evidence excluded at trial.
Right to Remain Silent –
At any stage of an investigation or criminal proceeding you have the right to remain silent. This is probably your most important right because anything you say can and will be used against you in court.
Even if you’re just explaining what happened, law enforcement and the prosecution team will use any inconsistency or discrepancy in your statement against you.
A common strategy used by these government agencies is to make it seem as though your story is impossible or just self-serving. The best thing to do is to not say anything without an attorney. Or, better yet, let the attorney tell your story for you.
Right to An Attorney –
Your right to an attorney can be exercised as early as your first contact with police. If police have made you reasonably believe that you are not free to leave AND are asking questions that are reasonably likely to lead to an incriminating response, then you have the right to request an attorney.
That said, law enforcement agencies will not go out of their way to tell you that you can request an attorney. For that reason, it is always best to have an attorney ready and at your disposal before having any contact with police. The sooner you retain the services of an attorney, the sooner your attorney can start working to defend your rights!