What are Your Constitutional Rights as a Defendant in Colorado?
The criminal justice system can be very confusing, especially if you aren’t a lawyer or trained to understand it. One of the most important aspects is to understand what your constitutional rights are and what that means. The Colorado constitution outlines the rights of any person accused of committing a crime. Some of the most important aspects of the Colorado Constitution include the following:
Right to an Attorney:
If you are arrested, you always have the right to be represented by a lawyer. This is true even if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer on your own. In this case, a lawyer will be appointed to assist you. As soon as you are charged with a crime, this right is activated.
Right to Remain Silent:
Another crucial right to understand is your right to remain silent. Once arrested, you are never required to speak to law enforcement or anyone else about your case. You always have the right to have a lawyer present while you are being questioned or while discussing the case. An experienced lawyer can ensure that you don’t accidentally say something incriminating and make the case against you stronger.
Free From Unreasonable Searches & Seizures:
Another important constitutional right is that all persons shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to be searched or to have your property searched, law enforcement must obtain a warrant, or the search and seizure must fall under one of the warrant exceptions. Speaking with an experienced Boulder defense attorney about this is crucial. If incriminating evidence was recovered but it was done so in a way that violates this constitutional right, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress to attempt to have that evidence suppressed.
One of the most fundamental Constitutional rights is the right to due process. More specifically, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process. In essence, this right guarantees that the government follows the law and provides fair procedures to all individuals. For example, you must be given your day in court and the right to defend yourself in a court of law. This right also guarantees that the government cannot collect evidence illegally. If they do, it can be suppressed and they will not be permitted to use or present it at trial.
Know Your Rights
Knowing your rights is one of the most important steps you can take. Even if you have never been arrested and don’t think you will be, knowing what you are entitled to and what law enforcement is not allowed to do will be very beneficial. Many people don’t understand that they have the right to remain silent, so they talk about the crime they were charged with and often end up saying something that hurts them in the future. If you know you don’t have to speak to law enforcement without a lawyer, you can assert this right immediately, and law enforcement will have to back off and wait until your attorney is present. This could be the difference between a conviction and walking free.
If you were arrested and aren’t sure what your Constitutional rights are or believe they have been violated, contact Dolan + Zimmerman LLP today. We are always here to help.