Miranda rights and search-and-seizure rules are just a few of the legal protections given to criminal suspects and defendants. This section spotlights your constitutional rights during encounters with police officers and in the courtroom.
Who Can Let the Police Search Your Home?
Police officers may usually search the home of an owner who consents. But what if someone other than the owner offers to let the cops have a look around?
Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent
You've seen it time after time on shows and in the movies: Cops slapping the cuffs on a "perp" and reading them their rights. But does it always happen that way? And can your silence actually be used against you sometimes?
Questioning Suspects in Custody: The Miranda Rule
Police must advise you of your 'Miranda rights' before initiating in-custody questioning.
Understanding Search-and-Seizure Law
Learn when the government can invade your privacy to hunt for evidence of a crime.
Fruit of the Poisonous Tree: Illegally Obtained Evidence
Fruit of the poisonous tree includes evidence gathered from just about any kind of police conduct that violates a defendant’s constitutional rights. The original evidence is inadmissible in court and so is any derivative evidence—unless an exception exists.
What Is the Patriot Act? How Can it Affect a Criminal Case?
Since just after 9/11, the U.S. government has greatly increased its surveillance of possible terrorist activity.
Arrest Warrants: What's in Them, How Police Get Them
Police must convince a neutral judge that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and the subject of the warrant was involved.
When the Police Can Make an Arrest: Probable Cause
"Probable cause" requires more than a mere suspicion that a suspect committed a crime, but not as much information as would be required to prove a suspect guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Warrant Execution and Unreasonable Police Behavior
When the police knock on your door, you typically don’t have to let them in unless they have a search warrant signed by a judge.
Resisting Arrest When Police Use Excessive Force
In most states, arrestees can resist arrest if the officer uses excessive force that's likely to cause great harm, but the right to defend is limited.
Suing the Police for Excessive Force
Excessive force by the police during an arrest violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But what are the chances a victim who brings a civil lawsuit will win damages?