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Were you arrested? Were your rights violated?

In recent months, questions surrounding U.S. police and procedural fairness and excessive force have come into question. Regardless of one's stance on this controversial topic, there are basic rights afforded to anyone who is arrested that police officers and other law enforcement officials must respect and by which they must abide.

In our last post, we discussed issues related to the Fourth Amendment and unlawful search and seizure. Potential violations of an individual's Fourth Amendment rights may occur in cases where a police officer searches an individual's person or car even though he or she failed to obtain verbal consent and lacks probable cause. In cases where a violation of an individual's Fourth Amendment rights subsequently results in an arrest and drug possession charges, a criminal defense attorney may seek to have evidence deemed inadmissible and charges dismissed.

In addition to Fourth Amendment violations, other rights afforded to every individual include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. In cases where an individual contacts a defense attorney, police are required to stop all questioning until legal representation is present. In cases where an arresting police officer fails to recite an individual his or her Miranda rights or fails to respect an individual's right to remain silent; a criminal defense attorney will likely seek to have charges dismissed on the grounds of coercion and individual's rights being violated. 

The U.S. criminal justice system was built upon the foundation and belief that an individual is "innocent until proven guilty." With this guiding principle in mind, pending official criminal charges, an individual who has been arrested cannot be held indefinitely. Additionally, those individuals who have been formally charged with a crime have the right to a speedy trial and just treatment while in police custody and awaiting a formal decision or verdict.

Charlotte area residents who believe their rights or those of a loved one were violated by law enforcement officials would be wise to consult with a criminal defense attorney.

Source:, "Getting Arrested Checklist: Have My Rights Been Violated?" 2014 

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