If you are convicted of murder, then you may face life in prison or the death penalty. Your life and your freedom are at stake, your family’s happiness and financial security may be at stake, and it may feel like everything is out of your hands.
But, you haven’t been convicted of murder yet.
It is important to understand your constitutional rights and to contact an experienced Virginia murder defense lawyer to discuss your defense.
U.S. Constitutional Protections for Murder Suspects
The United States Constitution protects you if you are suspected of or arrested for murder in Virginia. While Virginia has its own constitution and laws that apply, the Commonwealth cannot provide you with any less protection than the United States Constitution. Some of the critical constitutional protections afforded to you include your:
- Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. In most cases, the government must have a warrant to search you or your property. The government can only get a warrant if it can prove to a judge that there is probable cause to believe that there may be evidence of the crime in the place to be searched. Any evidence obtained unconstitutionally should not be used against you.
- Fifth Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination. You have the right to stay quiet and not to incriminate yourself. If the police attempt to question you, then you should politely tell them that you request that an attorney be present.
- Fifth Amendment right to due process. The fifth amendment gives you all of the procedural rights of a criminal trial.
- Fifth Amendment right to double jeopardy. The government cannot retry you for a crime for which you have already been acquitted or if the case is dismissed for any reason other than your own misconduct.
- Sixth Amendment rights to protection once you are accused of murder (or another crime). Once you are charged with a crime, you have the right to a lawyer, a jury trial, the disclosure of charges against you, to confront witnesses against you, and to a speedy trial.
- Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The government may not impose excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishment even if you are found guilty of murder.
- Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection and due process. All citizens deserve the equal protection of the law, and the rights found in the U.S. Constitution apply to state criminal proceedings, according to the 14th amendment.
Your Fairfax defense lawyer is going to ask you a lot of questions about your arrest, any searches of you or your home, and all interactions that you’ve had with the police. These questions have a purpose. Your attorney wants to make sure that you are treated fairly and that any potential violations of your constitutional rights are considered as possible defenses.
Constitutional Rights Violations May Be Part of Your Murder Defense
Any information that the government learns from you or through a search must be done in accordance with the United States Constitution. Additionally, the government must make sure that all of your rights are protected once you are suspected of murder, accused of a crime, or in legal custody.
If your constitutional rights are violated, then our experienced Fairfax murder defense attorneys will consider that as we prepare your defense. We will also carefully consider all other possible defenses and develop a strategic defense plan for you.
Together, our attorneys have more than 80 years of combined trial experience, and we have represented more than 80 people facing murder or manslaughter charges.
Now is the time to learn how we may help you if you’ve been charged with murder. Call us or fill out our online contact form today to talk to our legal team and to make sure that your constitutional rights are protected.