When someone has accused you of committing a crime, there are rights that you have which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. If you find yourself or a loved one in this position, you might be asking yourself if there is a way of knowing if your rights have been violated. Below are some questions you or your loved one should be asking to see if they have, indeed, been violated.
Were you able to remain silent?
The right to remain silent is one of the most essential rights you have when you’ve been accused of a crime. Law enforcement cannot force you to tell them anything. It is taken from the 5th Amendment and it is your right against incriminating yourself. You do not need to prove the case for law enforcement. It is their duty to collect evidence that you did commit a crime. If you tried to stay silent when you were questioned but law enforcement forced or coerced you to talk, then your rights might have been violated.
Were you read your Miranda Rights?
Did law enforcement tell you anything you said may be used against you? This is a part of the Miranda Rights and is something the police must tell you. If they said you could remain silent but did not say that it could be held against you, then your rights might be violated.
Were you allowed to have a lawyer when you asked for one?
When you are arrested, you have the right to have a lawyer present when you are being questioned. If this is denied to you, then your rights could be violated.
Were you asked questions without a lawyer present?
If you requested a lawyer, then law enforcement cannot question you without your lawyer being there. In other words, every time law enforcement talks to you, your lawyer must be there.
Were you required to pay for your lawyer’s fees?
You have the right to a lawyer, even if you are unable to afford one. If you cannot afford one, you can have one paid by the state. If you fall under this category, then a public defender will be appointed to you.
Did law enforcement stop questioning you after you asked for a lawyer later?
Many times, a criminal suspect will think a lawyer is not needed. However, if you change your mind later and decide you want a lawyer, then once that decision is made, the police should stop asking you questions until the lawyer is present. If they do not, then that might be a violation of your rights.
Were you treated humanely?
There are a lot of issues with unfair treatment and police brutality. If someone is suspected of committing a crime, then they should be treated humanely, even if they did the worst crime ever. If you were not treated humanely, such as not being offered food or water, then that is considered a violation of your rights.
Were you held unfairly?
It is illegal for you to be held for a long time when you have not been charged with a crime. For instance, being locked up because police thought you killed someone. You must be officially charged in a certain amount of time for them to put you in a cell. This can be 48 hours or sometimes longer, depending on your state. If you have been held for a long time and it is longer than usual, that could be a violation of your rights.
Were you treated as if you were guilty before being sentenced?
If you are being held and waiting for your trial, you cannot be treated like you are guilty before you have been convicted, even if the evidence clearly shows you committed the crime. As the saying goes, innocent until proven guilty; therefore, you are supposed to be treated as if you did not commit the crime until you have been proven guilty. If you were given unfair treatment or punished while you were waiting for your trial, then your rights might have been violated.
Did you have a fast trial?
You are allowed to have a speedy trial. The government cannot drag their feet and wait a long time to begin your trial. If you did wait a long time, that might have been a violation of your rights.
Did you experience unusual and cruel punishment in prison?
According to the 8th Amendment, you cannot be subjected to any inhuman treatment after being convicted. For instance, you were given moldy food when you wanted something to eat. If you did experience this, then you might have had your rights violated.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have been arrested because law enforcement thinks you have committed a crime, you want to make sure your rights have not been violated. You need to ask yourself these questions to make sure you are being treated fairly. If you are unsure, contact Mercy Bail Bonds and we can help you understand your rights, as well as provide you with information for the bail bond process. We are available 24/7 so call us at (727) 856-7775 today!