What Are My Rights


Always consult an attorney before you decide to talk to the police.  Many of my clients voluntarily talk to the police and than consult an attorney. If the police invite you in to talk to them you should always call an attorney first. The Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fifth Amendment reads, in part, “No person shall be … compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law …” These amendments provide the foundation for the rights that protect all in the U.S. The Truth will not set you free and you should always call an attorney before you decide if you should waive your Fifth Amendment rights.

If the cops violate your rights then any evidence discovered as a result of that violation must be suppressed from the evidence at trial. Your attorney can file a Motion to Suppress and have it heard by the judge or submit the issue to the jury. In some cases even if you consent to the search the evidence may be able to be suppressed. 

If your attorney is successful showing the Court that the evidence was obtained as a result of an illegal search  the evidence may be suppressed. If there is not any other  evidence  the state may be forced to dismiss the case they filed against you.  Do not waive your rights. Many of my clients would not have been arrested if they had not waived their rights and/or consent to searches.

1. Don’t Leave drugs or other contraband in plain view

There are many times that a police officer has to obtain a search warrant before they can conduct a search but any illicit material (drugs, weapons etc.) that can be plainly seen by any person from a nonintrusive vantage point is subject to confiscation. An arrest and a valid warrant to search the rest of the area is likely to ensue. If drugs are in plain view police do not have to ask for consent. If drugs or other contraband are not in plain view never give consent.

2. Never consent

Many individuals arrested on drug charges could have avoided that arrest by exercising their Fourth Amendment rights. If a law enforcement officer asks for your permission to search, it is usually because: (1) there is not enough evidence to obtain a search warrant; or (2) the officer does not feel like going through the hassle of obtaining a warrant.  The police will try to get you to consent. Stay strong and tell them you are going to exercise your constitutional rights. I have had some of my clients tell this to the police and the police sent them on their way. If they had consented they would have gotten a free ride to jail.  Do not be afraid to stand up to the police and exercise your right not to consent to searches.   

Whether arrested or not, you should always exercise the right to remain silent. Anything you say to law enforcement officers, reporters, cellmates or even your friends can be used as evidence against you.

You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Your right to remain silent should always be exercised. If you are in jail your phone calls are being taped. Do not discuss the facts of your case on the telephone with anyone. Always ask for an attorney as soon as police ask you the first question.

4. Determining if you can leave

If you do not know if you are under arrest ask the police officer if you are free to leave. If he says yes you need to leave asap and call an attorney. If he tells you that you are not free to leave tell him you want to call an attorney .  

5. Consent 

Many of my clients sign a consent after the police have conducted a search.  NEVER SIGN A WRITTEN CONSENT.   

I will insist that all information be provided and that you and I walk through all this information as we discuss and proceed on your case.


Call Penny Wymyczak-White 281-733-0264