An encounter with the police force can be a frightening situation. There are a plethora of myths, exaggerations, and fears that surround the law.

No matter the situation, Repka Law, located in St. Paul, MN, provides insight into what rights you have. For the next few weeks, we will focus on some of the most fundamental, yet widely underutilized, rights that could help you in the future.

The right to remain silent. We’ve all heard it—maybe in a movie or TV show or maybe in person. But what does remaining silent really mean? How “silent” can you be? How can silence benefit you during a confrontation with law enforcement?

The right to remain silent stems from the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. But both the Minnesota and Wisconsin Constitutions contain the same protection. The purpose of remaining silent is to ensure that an individual does not incriminate him or herself by speaking without an attorney present while being questioned or taken into custody by police.

We are given the right to have an attorney speak for us in all legal matters, especially criminal charges. Governing authorities must play by the rules when accusing citizens of breaking the law. These rules are concrete and binding. As a society, we place a higher level of value on the government following the rules of individual citizens.

The right to refuse a search. What does this exactly mean? How does somebody refuse a vehicle search or a home search?

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. As a general rule, a search is unreasonable—and therefore unconstitutional—if it is not conducted pursuant to a warrant. Your property is yours by law and governing authorities must either have your permission or a warrant before they can legally search your property and belongings. Even if police believe they are acting on probable cause, the must abide by the law and have sufficient evidence to do so.

Check back with us next week as we discuss more constitutional rights intended to protect you. Should you ever need a criminal defense attorney, call Repka Law at 651-395-7421.

Repka Law—Strong defense. Dedicated Attorneys.