Facing criminal charges is a daunting prospect for many, and if you find yourself in this position, you may wonder what you should do next. Whether it’s a misdemeanor offense or a felony charge, it is in your interests to build a strong defense and protect your future. One important factor of the defense process is to identify whether you experienced a violation of your constitutional rights.
Every person has rights, even when suspected of a crime. The United States Constitution outlines the rights of citizens, including rights regarding searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment specifically addresses personal privacy and the right to be free from government intrusion in personal property. This means the police cannot retain you, search your car, take your property or search your home without cause.
What does it mean for you?
It is in the interests of each citizen to understand the limits of how and when the police can search their homes and stop them for questioning. When you are not familiar with your rights, you will not know if you experienced a violation of them at some point during the investigation of your case. This can have a direct outcome on your future. The Fourth Amendment applies to the following situations:
- Taking of personal property by law enforcement
- Making an arrest
- Searching property where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy
This amendment is a safeguard for you against police misconduct and unlawful searches. Police cannot come into your home, search your vehicle or even take you into custody without reasonable cause to do so and without following certain procedures.
A violation of your rights
You may not be certain that what you experienced counts as a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. If police pulled you over for a minor infraction and searched your trunk, this may be a violation of your rights. If police stopped you for questioning while you were walking on the street, this could be a violation of your rights. These are only a few examples of how police can overstep the boundaries of their authority.
What should you do?
If you suspect you experienced a violation of your rights, you may want to speak with an experienced Texas defense attorney about your concerns. If there is evidence the police acted improperly at any point, it could have an impact on your defense. You may even be able to challenge the entire case against you. An assessment of your case can help you understand what options are available to you.