If You Are Detained by Law Enforcement, Let Our Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys Defend Your Rights
Know your rights to prevent jeopardizing your interests in Chesapeake, VA
There are many reasons for law enforcement officers to take you into custody, and you should know the extent to which they can go without a search warrant or informing you of your constitutional rights. The criminal law attorneys at Shannon & Bedois, P.C. want you to know exactly what officers must do and cannot do in order to preserve your constitutional rights. Here are some answers to common questions about what the police can and cannot do.
Contact us at (757) 228-5529 or send us an email message today.
Q: Can the police stop me to ask me questions or to pat me down?
A: Yes, but they cannot press you for information or make you stay much longer after you make it clear to them that you have no knowledge of the subject of their questions. If the officer has reasonable suspicion that a crime is about to occur, based on his own observations of the surroundings, he may pat you down for weapons only.
Q: When can drugs found in my clothes or in my house be used against me?
A: As long as they were not found as a result of an illegal search of your property, the drugs can more than likely be used to arrest and subsequently charge you. For example, drugs obtained from your clothes after you are legally arrested, from a police search of your house pursuant to a valid search warrant or by a search of your car after an officer pulled you over for a traffic violation and marijuana was smelled inside the car would probably be considered legally obtained and could be used against you. However, such situations turn on very specific facts and should be carefully evaluated by a criminal defense lawyer.
Q: When is a search warrant required?
A: To legally search your property, such as your clothes, car or house, and arrest you for a crime that you allegedly committed (i.e., did not commit in front of the police at that moment) requires a search warrant. The search warrant limits where the officers can search and specifies what evidence they seek to find. Exceptions to the search warrant requirements exist and you should contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss any search by the police or any arrest to make sure they were legally conducted and are valid.
Q: What are Miranda rights (aka Miranda warnings) and when are the police required to read them to me?
A: Police are required to notify you of your rights when they arrest you, when you are under police custody and when they intend to question you while you are in their custody. They are required to safeguard your constitutional right against making self-incriminating statements by informing you of what has become popularly known as Miranda rights or Miranda warnings, which include:
- You have the right to remain silent or to stop speaking at any time
- Any statement you make can be used as evidence against you
- You have the right to have an attorney present, which can be appointed by the court if you cannot afford one
Q: What does it mean to be under police custody?
A: If you are in a police car or in a room at a police station, little doubt exists that you are under police custody. But other less-clear situations do exist, and it may be left up to a judge to decide if you were or were not under police custody. For example, if the police question you in a public but secluded place and you understand from the officers’ demeanor that any attempt to stop the interrogation and leave would be in vain, such a situation holds a question of custody.
Whether the police legally searched your property or whether you were not properly given your rights before being questioned by the police, talk to us to understand your rights and to learn how our capable attorneys can provide a strong defense.
Contact us for clear direction on what to say and do when faced with a criminal charge in the Norfolk, VA area
Initial client consultations in criminal cases are free at the criminal law firm of Shannon & Bedois, P.C. Our Chesapeake, VA office is located near I-64 and is accessible via public transportation from the Norfolk and Virginia Beach areas. Don’t delay — call (757) 228-5529 or send us an email message today.