It is a frightening and harrowing experience to be arrested, especially for a crime you did not commit. While everyone recognizes the need for law enforcement, no law should be enforced at the expense of individual rights, responsibilities, and freedoms. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is part of the Bill of Rights and prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. It protects the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. When this amendment was written, the Founding Fathers had already dealt with unreasonable searches and seizures in other countries, especially during times of war where different sides claimed they had rights over certain people or property.
Remember that the United States of America was founded by people who were trying to leave a monarchy, which is they prohibited unreasonable searches and seizures unless there was a very good reason that warranted the need for a place to be searched, or for a person or their belongings to be seized. Otherwise, this was not an inherent right of law enforcement officers.
It’s important to note that there is a difference between being innocent and there being a lack of probable cause in an arrest. The officers only need to have reasonable suspicion that you have committed, are committing, or will commit a crime in order to detain you for further questioning.
Right to Remain Silent
You have rights during an encounter with the police. If you have an encounter with the police there are ways that you can protect yourself. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that everything you say can and will be used against you, so you have the right to not speak and all. In order to exercise this right, you must clearly say “I would like to remain silent” to the police.
One of the most common things that police officers try to do is attempt to get a confession out of the person they are arresting before they’ve had a chance to speak to their attorney. It is important that you maintain your silence and your composure in spite of the lack of their professionalism. You want an attorney to handle your case – you do not want to get into a conflict with the police. Any evidence that is collected or discovered during an unlawful search of your home, car, or office may not be permitted in court, and cases can even be thrown out if it is found that the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated by the police
Search and Seizure
In New York City, the police are required to let you know that they would like to conduct a search of your body, belongings, car, office or home, and to ask you for your consent before proceeding. If you do not consent, then your rights may be affected later on in court, but note that you cannot be arrested or ticketed for refusing to consent to a search. If the police conduct their search in spite of your refusal, then this is a violation of your rights unless they have a warrant. If they do have a search warrant, then you have the right to ask to see it.
Can I sue for wrongful arrest?
Yes, but it is important to remember that you must prove with evidence that you were held in custody without probable cause or without an order issued by a judge or magistrate of competent jurisdiction. A false arrest lawyer will be able to look at your case and situation, and then tell you what the best course of action is for you.
What To Do If You Are Being Falsely Arrested
Many times when people realize that they are being targeted for a false arrest, they will resist or attempt to flee. Each state has its own laws regarding resisting unlawful arrest, but historically, United States citizens have had a legal entitlement to resist an unlawful arrest. Some states have kept that policy whereas others have changed. In New York, it is a misdemeanor to intentionally prevent an officer from being able to arrest someone. It is possible to be convicted of resisting arrest even if you did not commit the crime that the original arrest was based on. A civil rights attorney would be able to give you better advice on whether or not your case has any legal basis. Give us a call today.