Don’t let the police take advantage of you

These days, it’s impossible to know whether you can trust the cops. While this point often descends into a political and racial issue, the truth is, no one can be positive their rights will be protected. This does not mean all cops are bad, or even most cops. It means mistakes can be made (and yes, sometimes, bad choices as well) by those who may have the power to decide the entire course of your life. So, you need to be aware of what the cops have the right to do, and what they don’t.

For instance, there is such a thing as “illegally obtained evidence.” This is evidence that the police intend to use against you which they have no legal right to use. People have a constitutional right against illegal search and seizure, that means, the police can’t just walk into your house and start searching for something if they don’t have a warrant or probable cause. While police will often try to stretch this second point, you should always contest it.

For instance, let’s say you have some drugs in your home. The police have no right to come in and look for those drugs, even if they suspect you have them. If they have no evidence, and they are unable to convince a judge to give them a warrant, no amount of suspicion gives them the right to enter your home and try to prove their hunch correct.

If the police do this, remember, you have a right to force them to dismiss this evidence against you. Remember the words “illegally obtained evidence.” They can make all the difference between a night in prison and several years.

When it comes to probable cause as well, remember that this does not include hunches. Again, if you have drugs in your home, and no one has called the police, and no one has seen anything, they have no right to enter without a warrant. Many times, cops will try to embellish the truth by saying something along the lines of: they saw you enter your home with a bag that looked like it said “this is drugs” on it. Police get away with these sorts of things all the time because people don’t know they have the right to push back on this point. Don’t let the police lie and trap you.

If you have been put in this position, remember, you have the right to a lawyer, and you should use that right. Lawyers are specialists in dealing with the tricks police play on civilians. If you have a good lawyer or even just a competent one, you have a good chance of forcing the police to play by the right rules.

Remember, this doesn’t mean all police are bad. Knowing your rights makes sure the police know to keep strictly to the laws that are set down for this country. Being tough with the police when you are suspected of a crime is not a sign you disrespect the police, it’s a sign you are taking care of your rights.

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