Being investigated for a crime in West Virginia is a stressful matter that can place your reputation, your career and your freedom at risk. No matter what specific crime you are suspected of, obtaining as positive an outcome as possible may hinge on how well you know your rights and which defense strategies you employ in court.
During a police investigation or following an arrest, your rights as protected under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution may be especially relevant. Understanding these amendments and knowing how to invoke them or refer to them to challenge the case against you may be a key toward obtaining a case dismissal or, at least, winning a favorable ruling in court.
Invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent
If West Virginia police officers have taken you into custody and are interrogating you with questions, you can invoke the Fifth Amendment. This amendment protects you from making statements that can later be used to incriminate you in court. When you invoke this amendment, you are saying that you understand that you do not have to answer questions under interrogation without the benefit of legal guidance.
Were there unlawful searches or seizures leading up to your arrest?
Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, your right to privacy is protected. There are stringent protocols that govern police actions regarding searching a person’s vehicle, residence or property. The same regulations govern the process of confiscating items from a person’s vehicle, residence or property.
You may have grounds to file a challenge in your case if you have evidence to show that a personal rights violation occurred during search and seizure operations. For instance, if police forced their way into your home and did not have an authorized warrant to search the premises, it may have been an unlawful investigation. There are exceptions, though, where a warrant isn’t necessary.
Building a strong defense
Just as it is important to remain calm and to cooperate with police if they are attempting to take you into custody, it is also important to carefully observe their actions as they do so. If you pay close attention, and you are aware of your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, you may be able to notice unlawful procedures if they occur.
Another important decision you will make as part of your defense strategy is what type of plea you will enter, either guilty or not guilty. Analyzing the weight of evidence against you and the facts and circumstances of your case are vital in determining your plea. For help making a decision that is most beneficial to you, you need to seek experienced legal guidance. A lawyer can help you decide which plea to enter and prepare a solid defense to protect your rights and future.