Sometimes our rights, when reinforced through a victory in court, are disparagingly referred to as "legal technicalities". The fact is that forcing our government to follow the proscribed procedures to accuse and/or incarcerate someone, and prohibiting our government from cheating to lock you away, was a hard-fought victory long ago when our country was founded which should not be abandoned or diminished from public ridicule or neglect.
If your rights may have been violated, I consider it my obligation to discuss that with you, and to seek for you the remedies that are available to you for the government's misuse of its authority.
Were my rights violated, and if so, what can I do about it?
This is a question that can only be answered in consultation with a criminal lawyer, after a review based on the facts and circumstances of each case. The answers I'm giving on this page are intended to be used only as general advice, and should not be relied upon for any particular case without consultation with a licensed attorney.
However, whether you hire me or someone else, here are some things about your legal rights and your criminal case which you and your lawyer will want to discuss:
Your rights are more than mere "technicalities", they are benchmarks to be used to make sure that procedurally you get your fair day in court, and to ensure that the government doesn't overstep its bounds with its vast resources and show of authority. Our Constitutions (federal and Colorado State Constitution) offer us protections against government without boundaries. Some protections are considered so valuable that it's as if the people who set up our country said, "If the state is wrong and the individual is wrong, the individual wins." In many instances, mistakes made by law enforcement officers can enable your lawyer to convince the judge to keep the evidence against you out of court.
Many people think that they cannot be prosecuted if they are not read their "Miranda rights". This is not true: the general rule is that the police only need to have read you your Miranda rights if they intentionally question you while you are in custody, and the prosecutor seeks to use your statements against you in a court hearing.
Some of your rights come into play by the procedures used by the District Attorney in court, because you are entitled under the Constitution to a fair trial with "due process" of law. Many of your rights come into play when the police have gathered evidence against you, for in general the police need consent, or a good reason to think they'll find evidence in a particular place plus a search warrant or an emergency in order to search you, or your stuff. When you're driving a car you have less rights than when in a private home, but the police need a specific reason to stop you and pull you over before they can start their investigation process.
Whatever the circumstances, I will work with you to see that we use any potential rights violation to your best possible advantage in a criminal prosecution.
Were My Rights Violated?
Whether or not your rights were violated depends on two things: the details of your case, and the state of the law when you are brought to court. New laws are passed all the time, or new judicial decisions are rendered, which require your lawyer to stay up on the current developments in order to advise you properly on whether your rights violations can be raised as a defense in court. For all my clients, I seek to identify areas in their case where their rights may have been abused, and I fully research and discuss my findings with my clients to present them with the widest range of possible options that can help their case.