You have rights… Use them!

While everyone who has ever watched the shows Law and Order or CSI know all people in the United States of America have constitutional rights. The most important of these rights are the right against self incrimination (5th amendment) and the right to an attorney (6th amendment). But the most recited rights on these television shows are a persons Miranda rights. These rights were created by the courts and are associated with the voluntariness of a persons statements to law enforcement.

Yet, with all of these entertaining programs displaying americans their constitutional rights it seems that in the vast majority of cases people never seem to exercise these rights and protect their own interests. As a former prosecutor I know that many cases are made for the State simply because the Defendant did not exercise their constitutional right to not say anything. In the case you are contacted by law enforcement and questioned about a past or present incident that you may or may not be involved in it is important to know what to do in those situations.

What to do when contacted by a police officer or other form of law enforcement and they would like to ask you questions?

Answer: Refuse to answer all questions. This means you must tell the officer that you will not answer any questions until you speak to an attorney. This should put a stop to any further questions by the officer. If an officer proceeds to ask you questions you must stay firm and not speak until you get a chance to speak to a lawyer. While you may feel intimidated by law enforcement you will help yourself in the long run. Further, even if you think you are not the focus of the investigation you should consult a experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer to make sure you have no criminal liability.

What do you do when asked if an officer can search your vehicle or home?

Answer: Refuse to consent to a search and tell the officer politely that he or she may not unless they have a lawyer. While the officer may get a warrant and still do the search at least the validity of the warrant can now be challenged. If someone consents to a search it is much harder to challenge.

What to do when stopped for DUI?

Answer: Please read Mikes 10 tips when arrested for DUI. In short do not do any tests or answer questions until you speak to a lawyer.

Note: These tips are meant to help you protect your constitutional rights they do not guarantee outcomes or results in criminal cases. If you feel that you are under criminal investigation or were arrested you should contact an experienced Arizona Criminal Defense DUI attorney as soon as possible to get counsel on your specific situation.

By Michael Munoz

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