National headlines have been full of cases involving violent interactions between citizens and law enforcement officials. While these cases capture the media’s attention, there are situations that occur regularly in which an accused person’s rights are violated that do not get this type of news coverage. If you are stopped by the police or accused of any type of criminal activity, our San Jose criminal defense attorney wants you to be aware of your rights and the steps you need to take to protect yourself.
‘Color Of Law’ Violations
Local police and state law enforcement officials are granted the authority to ensure that laws are upheld. They have a tremendous amount of power in terms of detaining suspects, searching property, and making arrests, and there are situations in which abuses occur. Color of law violations occur when officers abuse this authority. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) reports that common types of violations include:
- Using excessive force: While officers are permitted to use force, it must be at a reasonable level for the circumstances;
- Sexual assaults: Harassment in the form of inappropriate comments, touching, or other sexual based actions are prohibited;
- False arrests: While police do have the right to detain you for questioning, they do not have the right to make an arrest without proper cause or evidence that a crime occurred;
- Illegal search and seizure: You may be searched and your property may be seized if they suspect a crime, but there must be proper cause; and
- Fabricating evidence: Manufacturing evidence and providing false testimony in order to make an arrest or to obtain a conviction is a violation of the rights afforded citizens under the U.S. Constitution.
You have the right to hold officers accountable for any of the above. Your criminal defense attorney may be able to file a civil suit against a law enforcement agency over these actions, along with citing these incidents as an extenuating factor in your criminal case.
Defending You in Police Interactions
If you are stopped or detained by law enforcement officials, the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recommends the following actions:
- If you are stopped or detained for questions, ask to know why and inform the officer you DO NOT consent to a search. Exercise your right to remain silent;
- If you are arrested, DO NOT resist arrest in any manner, nor should you attempt to argue with the officer or ‘talk your way out of.’ This will not help, and could escalate the situation; and
- Do provide the officer with your name and address, but otherwise assert your rights to remain silent and request an attorney. You are entitled to three calls within three hours of your arrest, and you should assume all of your actions are being recorded.
If you have had conflicts with law enforcement or have been charged with a crime, contact the passionate San Jose criminal law attorneys at Jachimowicz Law Group immediately for help. In these situations, we act as a strong legal advocate on your behalf, to help ensure your rights are protected.