Many people are confused about what the police can and cannot do when they stop you or come to your home. That’s why it’s so important to work with the best criminal defense attorney in the Atlanta and Marietta areas. Police are human and make mistakes, so it’s important that you know your rights and have a lawyer who can stick up for you if they’re violated.
The Right to Remain Silent
When dealing with the police, you have the right to stay silent if you think that what you say could incriminate you in a crime. In many cases, you must give your name, but you can usually stay silent other than that once you’ve notified the officer you’re exercising your right to stay silent.
The Right to Leave
Unless you’re suspected of a crime or being arrested, you have a right to simply leave. Ask the police officer if you’re free to go. If he refuses and tells you you’re under arrest, you have a right to know why. Even if you feel it’s an unwarranted arrest, don’t resist. You can always argue it later with the help of a trained lawyer.
The Right to Refuse a Search
In some circumstances police are allowed to pat you down if they are investing a crime or suspect you’re carrying a weapon. In other circumstances they’re also allowed to search your car if they have reason to believe a crime was committed (for example, if they see or smell drugs following a lawful traffic stop). When there is no reason to suspect a crime, however, you have the right to refuse a search of yourself, or your belongings. But remember, the police have no right to gain entry into and search your home without a valid warrant unless they are in pursuit at the time they make such an attempt.
The Right to an Attorney
Most importantly, you have the right to an attorney to help you make sure the police respect your rights. If you don’t have enough money to pay for one, you’ll be provided one for free. You should be able to make a private call to an expert in criminal law in Atlanta and Marietta without anyone listening. Don’t say or sign anything until your lawyer arrives.