The Top 5 Mistakes Made by Police
Most people think that an arrest is essentially a conviction, but what they may not know is that many cases that look hopeless just need to be more closely examined. One of the more common reasons for criminal defense cases to be dismissed or arrive at a not guilty verdict is actually because of mistakes by law enforcement. Here are some of the most common errors made by police.
1) Illegal Stops
The fourth amendment protects you from unlawful stops by law enforcement. If an officer has reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime, they may stop you long enough to determine if their suspicion was valid. However, criminal defense lawyers have often proven in court that the officer may not have had enough reasonable suspicion to stop you or that you were detained beyond the time it took to confirm their suspicions. When either of these are proven to be true, information the officer obtained may be suppressed in court.
2) Failure to Read Your Miranda Rights
Before police may ask you any questions, they must read your Miranda Rights. When they fail to do so, any information you gave them may be suppressed in court. However, if you were read your Miranda Rights DO NOT answer any questions until a criminal defense lawyer is present.
3) Asking Questions Without an Attorney Present
The sixth amendment of the constitution provides the right to an attorney for your defense. Despite this right, police will frequently demand that you answer their questions even after you have refused to speak until a lawyer arrives. When this happens, anything you say without your lawyer present may be suppressed in court.
4) Illegal Search
In Florida, police must have probable cause to search your person or a search warrant for your home. If law enforcement searches you or your home, without a warrant or probable cause, any illegal drugs, weapons, paraphernalia, etc., may not be used in court.
5) Improper Paperwork and Lost Evidence
Affidavits, like search warrants, can have incorrect information or even false statements from an officer which could lead to suppressed evidence and sometimes dismissal of a case. In addition, when filing paperwork in a busy environment like a Police or Sherriff’s department, it becomes easy for an officer to make a mistake that results in lost evidence. A lawyer can request to exclude testimony about the missing evidence or have the case dismissed.
This is just a small list of the many errors that can be made during an arrest and investigation. The number one priority for those accused of or arrested for a criminal charge should be to obtain a lawyer specialized in criminal defense. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, any mistakes made by law enforcement can be exploited and used in your defense.