You might wonder what your rights really are if you are under arrest or facing criminal charges. Due process allows you a fair trial in a court of law, but what does this right mean?
You are likely aware that you can choose not to speak until your attorney is present, which can help you avoid self-incrimination. You should also understand that not every allegation will stand – sometimes even if police have evidence against you.
Law enforcement must respect your rights
The fourth amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure, meaning there is a limit to an officer’s ability to find evidence to file charges against you. If you are under arrest, the police may search you, your visible personal belongings or those items to which you have immediate access.
Officers may also search your property if they believe there is a safety threat. However, some evidence may not apply to your case. According to the exclusionary rule, if police violate your rights while looking for evidence, what they find may not factor into a court’s decision.
The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine relates to the way tainted evidence could damage additional findings. A court will likely refuse to accept illegally obtained evidence, and you can file a motion to dismiss evidence that surfaced during an illegal search.
Three exceptions to the exclusion of evidence
Some exceptions could apply to the exclusion of evidence. Regardless of how police obtained their findings, a court can accept case-related details if they:
- Would have inevitably become apparent
- Came from an independent source
- Resulted from an act of good faith, such as trying to save someone from an imminent threat
Witness accounts, pictures, test results and written testimonies are some pieces of evidence law enforcement officers could potentially gather while violating your rights. And although every arrest is different, there are laws to protect you while standing trial.
If you face criminal charges that could take your freedom, you can fight for justice. Working with someone who understands how the law could benefit you may be the best way to reach favorable results through a trial that is fair.