We’ve all heard the phrase, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” It is used all too commonly in relation to criminal charges. Nonetheless, it is crucial to remember that an arrest or criminal charge is not an automatic indication of guilt.
For the most part, police officers protect us by taking criminals off of the street and preventing unlawful acts from taking place. However, they are only human, and they do make mistakes. Recognizing some of the more common law enforcement errors could help you protect your legal rights.
Failure to protect your fundamental rights
Being questioned, detained or arrested can be intimidating for anyone, but especially for those who have had no previous experience with it. Police officers may give you the impression that you have no choice but to answer questions, with them dictating the terms. This is not strictly true. You are protected by the Fifth Amendment from making self-incriminating statements. If it can be established that your Fifth Amendment privileges have been violated, the final outcome in your case could be more favorable.
Stops aren’t always lawful
Although the police have various powers that assist them with the prevention of crime, these are not unlimited. Such powers always have to be balanced with an individual’s right to liberty. The Fourth Amendment provides protection from unlawful stops. If it becomes apparent that you were stopped without reasonable suspicion or you were detained for an inappropriate amount of time, the courts could deem the stop to be unlawful.
If you are facing criminal charges, you have a right to present a defense. Being aware of your legal protections in Texas and having experienced legal guidance can help you present a strong defense.