What Are Your Rights When You’re Accused of a Misdemeanor?

Getting arrested is a very upsetting experience. It does not matter if you are accused of a felony or misdemeanor. Although a misdemeanor is a lesser offense than a felony, you may face incarceration and fines if you are convicted. Hiring a criminal attorney to represent you in court is imperative.

A person accused of a misdemeanor will have the same rights as a person accused of a felony. According to Arizona’s top criminal defense law firm, the charges against you may be dropped if your rights are violated. Hence, you should know your rights.

The Right to Due Process

The right to due process simply means that before the government deprives a person of their property or freedom, it must abide by the rules set forth by the constitution of the United States.

Search and Seizure Rights

The Fourth Amendment of the constitution prevents illegal search and seizure. A search warrant should be issued whenever a police officer searches your home. If an officer has reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, they may search a home or vehicle if they think time is of the essence. For example, an officer may think a suspect will destroy evidence in the time it would take to get a warrant.

A search must not go beyond the scope of your warrant. In other words, the police cannot start looking for stolen artwork if the search warrant is for drugs.

If law enforcement illegally searches your home, the exclusionary rule may apply. The evidence they collect will not be admissible in court.

A criminal attorney will be familiar with the intricacies of search and seizure law. There may be individual pieces of evidence that are not admissible obtained in a legal search.

Miranda Rights

When a police officer arrests you, they must recite the Miranda warning. This is to inform you of four basic rights.

  • The right to remain silent.
  • The prosecutor can use anything you say against you.
  • You are entitled to a lawyer.
  • You are entitled to an attorney if you cannot afford one.

Double Jeopardy

A person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. There are two exceptions to this rule. If accused of committing a crime in multiple states, each state may put you on trial. If you are accused of violating both state and federal law, you can be tried at a state and federal level.

Never Give Up Your Fifth Amendment Right

If you answer a police officer’s questions without a lawyer present, you are effectively waving your right to an attorney. You should never do this under any circumstances, not even if you are innocent.

What if My Rights Are Violated?

If an officer violates your rights, wait until you can talk to an attorney and tell them what happened. They may be able to get charges against you dropped.

If your case goes to trial, they will know how to dismantle the prosecution’s case and fight for your acquittal. If you are convicted, they will fight for leniency in your sentencing.

Your freedom is the most precious thing you have. If you are accused of a crime, hiring the best criminal attorney should be your number one priority.

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