Have My Rights Been Violated?

SQ Attorneys

Every defendant charged with a crime has Constitutional rights. The government cannot infringe on these rights. Federal law requires the government to uphold a suspect’s Constitutional rights throughout a criminal case, including misdemeanor and felony cases. Some of the rights a defendant may have include: 1) Search and seizure rights, 2) Miranda rights (i.e right to remain silent), 3) Key rights of criminal defendants.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects your right to privacy. Specifically, it applies to searches and seizures conducted by government agents.

To conduct a lawful search and seizure, a law enforcement official typically requires a valid search warrant, a valid arrest warrant, or probable cause. If an officer finds evidence during the search, the government agent may then seize it. The prosecution may use the seized evidence in the prosecution’s case-in-chief against the defendant. If the warrant is later invalidated, the court will most likely exclude the seized evidence.

There are exceptions to the general rule that a law enforcement officer needs a search warrant to conduct a lawful search and seizure. General categories of exceptions are as follows: 1) Exigent circumstances, 2) Search incident to arrest, 3) Consent, 4) Automobile (in many situations but not all) 5) Plain view, 6) Evidence obtained during an administrative inspection or investigation.

Whether these exceptions apply to a specific search and seizure depends on the facts of each particular case. A defendant facing criminal charges has options. A criminal defense attorney can help determine whether the government violated your rights during a search and seizure.

To raise a challenge under the Fourth Amendment, a criminal suspect must prove they had a reasonable expectation of privacy. To challenge a search, a suspect must have personal standing. For example, if the government searches your home, car, or person, you would most likely have standing.

If the government searched your neighbor’s house, you most likely would not have standing. Also, the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful searches and seizures applies only to government actors, such as law enforcement agencies.

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects people from being a witness against themselves. If you have ever watched “Law and Order,” you have probably seen a police officer tell the suspect of their Miranda rights.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge (whether it is hate crime related or otherwise), immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So, it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900.

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