Have you been arrested and charged with a crime in Arizona? If so, it is vital that you understand what rights you have. Any criminal conviction will have a substantial impact on your life. Even a misdemeanor conviction could affect your ability to work or obtain housing. If you are convicted of a felony you will lose certain constitutional rights, such as the right to vote, possess weapons, etc. Because a conviction will have such a huge impact, it is important that you understand your rights and hire the right criminal defense attorney immediately.
If you are being investigated, have been arrested and/or been charged with a crime, you have constitutional rights that will protect you if you exercise them properly. Some of those rights include:
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
If you have been arrested, you have the absolute right to remain silent and not speak with any law enforcement officer about the event they are investigating. You simply need to tell the officer “I want to remain silent and I want to speak with a lawyer”. Once you say this all questioning should stop. The police cannot arrest or detain you simply for refusing to answer their questions. It is important that you exercise your right to remain silent because the police will truly use anything and everything you say against you. Police are specially trained in interrogating techniques designed to get you to make incriminating statements.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION
If you are placed under arrest, you must tell the police that you are invoking your right to legal representation. It is important that you do this immediately after being arrested because once you invoke this right the police must respect your request and not question you without your lawyer present. If you haven’t invoked your right to a lawyer and the police have started questioning you, you can still tell them at any time that you no longer want to answer any further questions and want a lawyer. The police must then immediately cease questioning. If the police do not honor your request and continue to interrogate you after you invoked this right, then all statements you make from that point forward could be inadmissible in court. In addition to having the right to a lawyer prior to questioning, you also have the right to representation at all stages of the case.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES
The United States Constitution requires the police to have a warrant to conduct a search; however, there are several exceptions to this warrant requirement. If the police ask you for consent to search your home, apartment, car, purse, or other belongings, you have the right to refuse to give consent and require that they produce a search warrant. Many courts, including the United States Supreme Court and Arizona Supreme Court, have outlined certain circumstances when a search may be conducted without a warrant. If you voluntarily give consent to search it will make it much more difficult to challenge the search later in your case. Without consent, the prosecutor will have to prove that the police either had a valid search warrant or that the circumstances fall within one of the warrant exceptions. If the police do not have your consent, no warrant, and it is not covered by a warrant exception, then all evidence discovered during the illegal search and seizure will be inadmissible against you.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SEE ALL OF THE STATE’S EVIDENCE AGAINST YOU
After you have been charged, the prosecutor is required to produce all the evidence they have in your case. This includes all written documents, photos, videos, etc. They are also required to produce evidence even if it is favorable to you and weakens their case. If the prosecutor fails to disclose all the evidence, it could result in the complete dismissal of your case.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONFRONT AND CROSS-EXAMINE ALL OF THE WITNESSES
You have the absolute right to confront all witnesses against you. In most circumstances, your lawyer will be able to interview these witnesses prior to trial to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their knowledge in the case. Your lawyer will also have the opportunity to aggressively cross-examine all the State’s witnesses at trial. This right is vital to a successful defense of your case.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A TRIAL
No matter what you’ve been charged with you have the right to a trial where the prosecutor is required to prove you guilty of every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the type of charge it may be a trial where the judge determines guilt or innocence, or it may be a trial to a jury who makes that determination. Whether it is a trial to the judge or a jury, it is vital that you have an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney.
The attorneys at Oliverson & Huss Law have represented thousands of clients, thus giving them extensive experience in protecting their client’s rights and aggressively representing them in court. We are former felony prosecutors, a former police officer, and a former judge.