Constitutional Issues in Manassas Criminal Cases

There are almost always some kind of constitutional issue that come up in criminal cases. The main parts of the constitution that really affect criminal cases are the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution. Below a Manassas criminal attorney discusses how each of these amendments can come into play, and whether they can be used as a defense.

If you believe any of your rights have been violated, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today to discuss your case and begin building a defense.

Unreasonable Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment says that you have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures. The courts have interpreted that through the years to mean that the police have to have a warrant under almost every circumstance in which they desire to conduct a search—whether it’d be of your home, your car, or something else.

The courts have also created exceptions to the warrant requirement and there are too many to list here. Suffice to say, if they search anything without a warrant, then a keen lawyer will challenge the government to establish whether or not they had the required facts needed to justify one of those warrant exceptions.

Right To Remain Silent

The Fifth Amendment says a lot of different things, but primarily it says you have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. The United States Supreme Court tells us in Miranda v. Arizona that the person has the right to be advised of those rights prior to being asked any question while in custody.

Right to Confront Witnesses Against You

The Sixth Amendment says a lot of different things too, but one of the main issues that comes up in Manassas or any other criminal court is that you have the right to confront witnesses against you. How that’s important nowadays is there was a very important Supreme Court case that came down a few years ago and that case essentially said that the government can no longer try a person by using documents alone.

Prior to that case, the government would be free to introduce things like lab certificates that indicated that the substance was illegal or certificates that showed blood or breath alcohol content in DUI cases. The government was free to just introduce those documents as evidence without the person who generated that document there to testify about the methodologies that were used. That’s no longer the case and that’s the Sixth Amendment right there—you now have the right to confront and cross-examine all evidence against you, including documentary evidence in the form of the person who generated that document.