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Know Your Legal Rights Upon Arrest

The Constitution of the United States guarantees certain rights to anyone who is arrested by law enforcement, including those who are not citizens. The Fourth Amendment protects you from illegal searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination, and the Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to legal counsel. Additionally, upon your arrest, law enforcement must inform you of your Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.

Probable Cause

Authorities cannot arrest you without a reason. They must either gather enough evidence that you probably committed a crime to obtain an arrest warrant from a judge, or there must be an indication that you are about to cause harm to others or destroy evidence. When authorities have a demonstrable reason to believe that you have committed or may commit, a crime, it is called probable cause.

When your case goes to court, authorities must be able to demonstrate that they had probable cause for an arrest. If they cannot, any evidence against you may be inadmissible in court.

Miranda Rule

The Miranda rule says that everyone who is placed under arrest and questioned must be informed of his or her rights against self-incrimination per the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and right to legal counsel. This is usually accomplished via a standard speech called a Miranda warning, and the rights it informs you of are often referred to as Miranda rights. Miranda is the last name of a person whose conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court because he was not informed of his rights upon his arrest.

After you are arrested, authorities may question you about what happened. You have the right to refuse to answer these questions if you assert to the officers that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent. You also have the right to have an attorney present while under questioning, and you have the right to have an attorney appointed to your case if you cannot afford to hire one yourself.

These are the rights that authorities must inform you of per the Miranda rule. If authorities question you without advising you of your Miranda rights, the evidence that they obtain through questioning may be thrown out at trial.

However, the Miranda rule does not necessarily apply to every interaction with law enforcement. If authorities question you without making an arrest, they do not have to advise you of your rights. They also do not need to do so if they arrest you but do not question you.

It can be difficult to know whether your rights have been violated at your arrest. One of our attorneys can review your case and advise you of your legal options. Contact our office to arrange a consultation.  Contact an attorney, like Criminal Lawyer Civic Center, San Francisco, CA, today for more information.

Thank you to the Hallinan Law Firm for their insight into criminal law cases.

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