The United States Constitution guarantees people a number of crucial rights that can help protect them against abuse from law enforcement. However, police officers can still violate these rights, resulting in serious potential harm as you suffer the indignities of the justice system. So what exactly happens when the police violate your rights, and how does the law protect your rights?
What Are Your Constitutionally Protected Rights?
The US Constitution protects a variety of crucial rights, which are intended to protect against police overreach. These rights include, but are not limited to:
- The right against unreasonable search and seizure
- The right against self-incrimination (also known as the right to remain silent)
- The right to an attorney
- The right to a jury trial in a court of law
- The right against cruel and unusual punishment
- The right against unreasonable bail
- The right to due process of law
- The right to equal protection under the law
How Might Your Rights Be Violated?
Just as you have a variety of constitutional rights, the police have a variety of ways they can violate those rights. Some of the most common ways police will violate criminal defendants’ rights include:
- Search or seizure without a warrant or probable cause
- Creating false justifications for traffic stops, stop-and-frisks, or other common searches
- Creating false justifications for arrests
- Using violence, intimidation, promises of leniency, or other illegal tactics to garner confessions
- Using excessive force in the process of arresting or interrogating a defendant
- Refusing to allow defendants to contact an attorney
- Withholding evidence from a defendant that could clear their name
- Engaging in racial profiling against defendants
What Happens When the Police Violate Someone’s Rights?
When someone has their rights violated by the police, it can have a severe negative impact on their lives. A false arrest, for example, can have severe negative consequences for a defendant’s personal and professional life, even if charges are later dropped. The use of coercive tactics can cause someone to wrongly confess to a crime, causing them to be punished with fines or incarceration they did not deserve. And the use of illegal searches and seizures can severely damage a person’s sense of safety and stability as their property is raided and taken by police.
What Should You Do If Your Rights Have Been Violated?
If you have been the victim of police brutality or other violations of your constitutional rights, you should seek out a lawyer with knowledge of criminal law as soon as possible. They can help you explore your legal options, and help you to get the justice you deserve.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a criminal offense, you will need legal counsel to help you preserve your rights and work to get the best possible outcome for your matter. A New York criminal defense lawyer, who is experienced in handling criminal cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you or your loved one has been arrested, contact the Suffolk County criminal defense attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.