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The United States Constitution bestows certain undeniable rights upon criminal defendants. One of the most notable of these rights is enumerated in the Fourth Amendment:
THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE TO BE SECURED IN THEIR PERSONS, HOUSES, PAPERS, AND EFFECTS, AGAINST ANY UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED, AND NO WARRANTS SHALL ISSUE, BUT UPON PROBABLE CAUSE, SUPPORTED BY OATH OR AFFIRMATION, AND PARTICULARLY DESCRIBING THE PLACE TO BE SEARCHED,AND THE PERSONS OR THINGS TO BE SEIZED (U.S. Constitution, Amendment IV).
Generally, in any serious criminal case, the criminal court process begins with an arrest. Following the arrest, the defendant is interviewed, processed and either released or submitted for a bail hearing. In most custodial situations, and prior or simultaneous with arrest, a criminal defendant is entitled to be administered the Miranda Rights, which states that:
…a person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent him.
Following arrest, statements made at any time by criminal defendants to law enforcement officers may be used against those defendants in a court of law. This does not apply if you volunteer information without being questioned by the police. Thus, criminal defendants should invoke their right to be silent and their right to retain a lawyer or have their lawyer present at the very begging of a custodial situation.
After processing, defendants are released pending presentment or arraignment, at which time the charges are formally launched. Thereafter, the matter is either set for a status or a preliminary hearing.
It is vital, in order to preserve and to safeguard your right, to engage an experienced criminal defense lawyer from the outset. Often times, the government secures and cements their case at the time of arrest or after when proper representation has not been engaged. Allow yourself the best fighting chance to take apart the government’s case and to establish a reasonable doubt by utilizing the skills, knowledge, and the unparalleled experience of the Law Offices of David Stein.
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