Know Your Rights

What should you do if you get stopped by a cop?
You should not be hostile. Simply stop and allow the cop to do the cop's job. If you are ticketed or arrested, immediately contact an attorney to effectively challenge the cop's authority to stop or to arrest you. Cops cannot simply stop you based on a mere whim or a hunch; there must be sufficient legal grounds to do so.

What should you say if you get stopped by a cop?
You have constitutional rights that you can invoke. This means that you do not have to say anything to cops, which is what you should do even if you did not do anything wrong. You simply say that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution right to remain silent. If this happens to you, immediately contact an attorney in order to fight for your rights.

Can a cop search your person and/or your stuff?
A cop can search you and/or your car if a cop has probable cause to believe you pose a violent threat to the cop and/or that you have narcotics on your person or in your car.

If you are arrested for a crime, a cop can search you entire person, including anything that you are carrying, and, if you are driving your car, a cop can search the entire car, including the trunk, but not closed containers.

If this happens to you, immediately contact an attorney in order to effectively challenge the cop's authority to search you and/or your car.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you rights against unreasonable searches. The Constitution is a powerful device and you have the right to enforce its full effect.

What is the standard to arrest you?
A cop must have probable cause to arrest you for a crime. A cop can use the cop's training and experience as well as his own observations to arrest you for a crime, or a cop can rely on information from third parties to obtain probable cause to arrest you for a crime. However, there must be sufficient information that a crime in fact occurred or will occur.

If this happens to you, immediately contact an attorney in order to effectively challenge the cop's authority to arrest you for a crime.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prescribes you the right that a cop must have probable cause to arrest you for a crime. The Constitution is a powerful device and you have the right to enforce its full effect.

What should you do if you get served with a search warrant?
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution mandates that a cop present probable cause of criminal activity to a judge to sign off on the search warrant. If a cop serves you with a search warrant, you should ask to see the warrant. You must comply with the search warrant, and then immediately contact an attorney to determine if there are any challenges you can make against the search warrant. Some defenses include lack of probable cause, lack of specificity, improper execution, and staleness of information supplied for the search warrant.

If law enforcement officials fail to respect your constitutional rights by performing unlawful search or seizure of your car, property or person, it is likely possible to have that evidence suppressed in your case. Make sure you have an advocate dedicated to your rights. Contact Bussa Law at 218-303-5497 to arrange a consultation.

If arrested, how long can you be held in jail?
No matter what crime you are charged with, you have 36 hours to have a bail hearing if you are in jail. This time requirement does not include the date of the arrest, Sundays, and holidays. At the bail hearing, a judge will determine if you will be released without bail, or a judge could decide you are a flight risk and/or that you are a danger to the public safety to set a bail amount, which could keep you in jail if you cannot pay the bail amount. If the crime is alleged is extremely heinous and poses a grave threat to public safety, bail may not be set. And, if you are on probation at the time of the new alleged offense, bail will not be set until the probation violation is dealt with.

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution specifically provides that you must be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, which allows you to demand bail. It is important that you contact any attorney before your bail hearing so that you can obtain the fairest bail determination as possible.

If arrested, how long do you have to wait to be formally charged?
If you are in custody, the prosecution has 48 hours from the time of your demand to file a complaint. If you are not in custody, the prosecution has 30 days from the date of your demand to file a complaint. If no complaint is filed within these timeframes, the charges against you can be dismissed. However, in serious felony cases, the prosecution likely will receive an extension to file a formal complaint either if you are in custody or if you are not in custody and demand a formal complaint.

Are all of your privacy rights protected?
No, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution only protects your person, your home, your papers, and your effects, like suitcases, storage chests, and the like. The legal rationale behind the Fourth Amendment is a reasonable expectation of privacy or a personal property interest. Things that are not protected are (1) airspace; (2) accounts records; (3) garbage; (4) voice; (5) odors; (6) open fields (anything beyond the immediate privacy of your home); (7) handwriting samples; (9) paint-chips; and (10) fingernail clippings and generic DNA swabs.

What are the differences between the United States and the Minnesota Constitutions?
The United States Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution apply to every Minnesota citizen, including alien residents. Minnesota's Constitution has adopted every amendment afforded the United States Constitution that deals with your rights in a criminal case. Minnesota's Constitution simply refers to them as incorporated articles, not stand-alone amendments.

After you are charged, what does the process entail?
Vigorously defending your rights demands a marathon, not a sprint, mentality. Every stone must be overturned. Consequently, you truly get what you pay for when your hire a lawyer. After you are charged, you have an initial appearance where you will plead not guilty, you will demand a copy of the complaint and a copy of all of the evidence the prosecution has against you. You can challenge the legality of the charges, the admissibility of the evidence, the stop of you and/or your car, the search warrant, and/or your arrest. This could result in the dismissal of your case. If not, you can negotiate a plea deal or take your case to trial.

More Questions? Contact Bussa Law.

You should find a lawyer that will truly fight for your rights by exploring every avenue of defense and that is competent and not afraid to try your case. To learn more about your rights and arrange a consultation, please call 218-303-5497 any time, day or night.