What if My Rights Were Violated When Arrested in NJ?

Symbols of courthouse with handcuffed man

Getting arrested can make anyone feel powerless. Police stop you unexpectedly, demand identification, ask you questions, restrain your movement, and potentially even place you in cuffs and haul you down to the station. But it is important to remember that the United States Constitution recognize the intrusiveness of this police conduct. Those governing documents provide you with a number of critical rights before, during, and after arrest. This article explains your rights when dealing with police officers in New Jersey and how your rights can be violated when arrested. We also explain the consequences of police violating your rights if it results in your arrest and criminal charges against you. To discuss your specific case with a distinguished Jersey City criminal defense lawyer at no charge, call (201) 793-8018 now. You may have an effective defense for any criminal charge, including robberyburglarydrug chargesshopliftingDWI, and a host of other crimes in New Jersey.

When Can Police Arrest Me?

The Constitution states that officers cannot arrest you without probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. In addition, they cannot initiate a traffic or other investigatory stop unless they have reasonable suspicion based on specific, articulable facts indicating that a crime has been committed. Officers thus cannot simply arrest you based on a gut feeling. This is one of the core rights of the arrested – the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. If police stop you without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, your attorney may be able to later move to dismiss the case filed against you based on a Fourth Amendment violation.

What Do I Have to Tell Them?

If police initiate an investigatory stop, they are permitted to ask you to produce your driver’s license. If you were driving a car at the time of the stop, they are also permitted to ask you to see your vehicle registration. Beyond that, you are not required to answer questions posed by the police; you are permitted to state that you would like to exercise your right to remain silent or to speak with an attorney. It is generally smart to stay friendly and cooperative with the police, but that does not mean you have to incriminate yourself or answer their questions.

You are also permitted to ask the officers who have stopped you whether you are formally under arrest. If they say you are not under arrest, you can ask whether you are free to leave. If officers then say no, your lawyer may later be able to argue that you were under de facto arrest, depending on a number of circumstances that you can discuss with your lawyer. If an officer says you are free to leave, you can exercise your right to walk away and avoid further police questioning.

What Are My Miranda Rights?

If police arrest you and want to continue asking you questions about your suspected criminal activity, they are required to provide you with what is called a Miranda warning, otherwise known as reading you your Miranda rights. You have probably heard these rights read before: you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, you have the right to an attorney, etc.

If police take you into custody and interrogate you without reading your Miranda rights, your statements can be excluded from a later criminal case filed against you. This means that admissions and even a confession may be unavailable to the prosecution in a later-filed case, making it more difficult for them to prove their case against you.

Illegal Arrest in NJ, What Can I Do?

You should consult an attorney if you believe your rights were violated during an arrest, or if you are facing any criminal charges in New Jersey for that matter. Contact our local office in Hudson County, NJ at (201) 793-8018 to speak with one of our dedicated criminal defense lawyers free of charge. We can tell you more about your rights and discuss your potential defense options.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.