Law enforcement officers in Ouachita Parish, and throughout the rest of Louisiana, must conduct themselves professionally at all times. When they make errors of judgment or other mistakes, innocent people suffer serious harm such as jail sentences, high fines, and even damage to their profession or reputation. However, if you can identify mistakes made in the procedure of an arrest or stop, it can serve as a defense that can help you beat your charges. Below, our Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer explains some of the most common mistakes police officers make, and how they can help your case.
No Reasonable Suspicion
Law enforcement cannot pull you over for something such as a suspected DWI simply because they have a hunch that you have committed a crime, or that you are about to commit one. Police must have a reasonable suspicion that you are committing, about to commit, or that you have committed a crime. In order for police to have reasonable suspicion, they must have specific reason to support their belief. If you are stopped by police and they did not have reasonable suspicion, any evidence they find as a result of the stop cannot be used against you later in your case.
No Probable Cause
Before a police officer can arrest you or search your property, they must have probable cause that you have committed a crime. This means they must be able to present evidence that you acted illegally, although there is no requirement that the evidence against you must be conclusive. Probable cause is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion.
Violations of Your Miranda Rights
Anyone who has seen a crime television show or movie is likely familiar with the Miranda warning. Under this law, police officers must inform you of your right to remain silent, as well as your right to an attorney. If police officers do not inform you of these rights, anything you say cannot be used against you later in the case. Although many people are familiar with the Miranda warning, it is often misunderstood. An Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer can review the facts of your case and determine if your Miranda rights were violated.
Police officers have very specific procedures they must follow during the collection, storage, and handling of evidence before, during, and after any criminal case. For example, if DNA evidence is collected at the scene of a crime, certain steps must be taken to make sure that the sample does not become contaminated. Evidence must be properly handled even after a criminal case, as it will be relevant during an appeal.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Parish Can Identify Mistakes in Your Case
If you have been arrested for a crime, it is critical to work with an Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our seasoned attorney will identify any mistakes made in your case and use them to help you retain your freedom. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.