In Manassas and in other Virginia jurisdictions, constitutional issues often interfere with DUI cases. Law enforcement officials may sometimes forgo constitutional rights in the process of searching for evidence against someone they believe committed a crime. A Manassas DUI lawyer can aid you in fighting unfair treatment following a DUI stop. Call today to start building your defense.
There are several Constitutional issues that come up frequently in Manassas cases. One of the most frequent is Fourth Amendment issues which relates to an individual’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. It is often the case that a person will find themselves detained by the police, which is a seizure of their person under the Fourth Amendment, or their person, vehicle, or home is searched, which is a search for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.
If this is happening, the police must have probable cause or at least a reasonable suspicion to begin investigating. It is not unusual for the facts articulated by the police to be very thin, opening up a basis upon which to challenge either the arrest, or the search of their person, vehicle, or premises. The defense can then attempt to suppress evidence gathered or discovered by police in the course of these seizures or searches.
Another important area that comes up in almost every case is the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate one’s self, and to remain silent. As everyone who has ever watched television crime shows knows, people have rights under the Miranda vs. Arizona case to remain silent, to be told that anything that they say can and will be used against them, and to be told they have a right to an attorney. The law says that if a person is under arrest or has been detained to a degree that is similar to arrest and the police are asking questions, that the answers to those questions can only be used in court if the Miranda warning has been given.
It is frequently the case that people give incriminating evidence to police prior to receiving a Miranda warning. This is an issue that comes up all the time and frequently the statements of the accused can be kept out of evidence at trial if the police did not follow proper procedures in giving the Miranda warning.
Constitutional issues can have a profound impact on the case. Under Virginia law, and generally under the United States Constitutional law, an illegal seizure of a person, such as an illegal arrest, or an illegal search that turns up evidence which is harmful to the defendant, will result in the government being penalized at trial. The penalty for that illegal search or seizure is the exclusionary rule, which says that illegally-obtained statements, items or other evidence that follows an illegal search or seizure must be kept out of evidence at trial. The result of this in many cases is that the case falls apart and the prosecution can no longer go forward.
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