Under the United States Constitution and the Utah Constitution, citizens have an expectation of privacy and are afforded specific rights when detained or arrested in connection with a crime. One of your constitutional protections is the Fourth Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure.
The police take advantage of the fact that citizens do not fully understand their constitutional rights or are too intimidated to assert them. If your rights were violated and you were subsequently charged with a crime, that may be the foundation of your defense.
The Salt Lake City constitutional rights attorneys at Greg S. Law, are skilled at turning the tables on the prosecution by bringing constitutional rights violations to light. Contact us for a free initial consultation.
We Stand Up To Constitutional Violations
If you are suspected of a crime, the police must follow the rules established more than 200 years ago in the Constitution and since expanded and clarified by legislation and by the Supreme Court:
The Fourth Amendment prohibits illegal search and seizure. Police must have your consent or a search warrant to enter your home, and cannot search your car against your wishes without probable cause. They can however search your vehicle incident to a lawful arrest, but many times the issue of whether or not the arrest was “lawful” determines if the search is valid.
The Fifth Amendment says that you cannot be coerced into self-incriminating statements. A confession or statement based on the results of an illegal search may be suppressed in court. For example, if police searched the trunk of your car without consent, any evidence recovered may be considered tainted.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees you the right to speak to an attorney before answering questions. If police conducted a search or badgered you into providing information after you asked for a lawyer, that evidence might be tossed out.
The Miranda warning (“You have the right to remain silent …”) must be given only when a person is formally arrested or during a custodial interrogation. Sometimes police try to have it both ways, detaining suspects against their will without placing them under arrest, essentially conducting illegal interrogations. The issue of custody, and whether a person feels like he or she is detained vs. free to leave will impact whether a Miranda warning should have been given.
The Supreme Court recently ruled ( Arizona v. Gant) that police do need a search warrant to search a vehicle if the person is already under arrest. Police often try to circumvent search and seizure rules under the guise of an “inventory search.” On cross-examination, we have proved that officers did not catalog the contents of the car, but were merely fishing for evidence.
Searches and search warrants have limits. If you were arrested for DUI, police cannot go search your home to look for drugs or guns. Likewise, a search warrant must be specific about where police intend to look and what they expect to find.
What seems like strong evidence against you may be a house of cards. Our Utah criminal defense lawyers challenge unfounded traffic stops, unreasonable searches, and unlawful seizure of evidence.
Call Greg S. Law, at either of the numbers above or e-mail us a brief message, and we will respond soon. We offer a free initial consultation, and are available for evening and weekend appointments. We also accept major credit cards.
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer, Greg S. Law. To schedule a meeting with Greg, please call or complete the intake form below.
Greg S. Law, provides aggressive criminal defense representation in the Salt Lake City area and throughout the state of Utah, including cities such as Ogden, Provo, Park City, Sandy, Orem, Heber, Vernal, Duchesne, Roosevelt, Tooele, West Valley City, West Jordan, Kearns, Murray, Cottonwood Heights, Layton, Kaysville, Farmington, Centerville, Bountiful, Price, Moab, Cedar City and St. George. Salt Lake County ∙ Davis County ∙ Weber County ∙ Utah County ∙ Summit County (UT)