Your Constitutional rights as a Kansas criminal defendant or person under investigation

As Manhattan Kansas criminal lawyers, we frequently counsel clients on their Constitutional rights and how to exercise them.

As a person accused of a crime, you have these rights:

  • The right to remain silent.
  • The right to be represented by an attorney.
  • The right to have neither your person nor your property subjected to unreasonable searches or seizures.
  • The right to not be physically or mentally abused or deprived of food, shelter or clothing by the police.
  • The right to reasonable bail.
  • The right to be presumed innocent.
  • The right to confront accusers and evidence put forth to prove guilt.
  • The right to trial by a jury before a fair and impartial judge.

It is especially important for you to understand and exercise your rights to remain silent and free from unreasonable searches or seizures if the police question, detain, or arrest you.

Remain silent

If you are questioned, investigated, arrested, or charged with a crime, you should talk to no one about your case unless your lawyer is present.

If the police stop your car or stop you to question you, give the officer your name, address, and date of birth if requested. For all other questions, tell the officer you want to speak with your lawyer. Do not answer questions about where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, or if you’ve been drinking. You cannot be punished for refusing to answer incriminating questions.

The police are allowed to lie to you and their often do to get you to admit you did something illegal. For example, they may tell you that you will not be charged with a crime if you admit that drugs, weapons, or other contraband belongs to you. Or they may tell you that a friend or other witness has told them you committed the crime. Do not believe them.

Do not discuss your case with anyone unless your lawyer is present. Do not talk to cellmates, guards, police, or even family and friends, and do not discuss your case in letters. Many criminal defendants blow their defenses by talking too much.

Most jails and prisons routinely record conversations between inmates and visitors and inmate telephone calls. Other prisoners know that they can sometimes get favorable treatment by informing on fellow inmates. Don’t give them something to say.

Do not consent to a search

Your home. With few exceptions, the police need a warrant to enter your home. If the police don’t have a warrant, do not let them in. If they ask your permission to enter, that is a sign that they do not have the right to come in. Do not let them in. If they tell you that they’ll just go get a warrant, tell them to do it and do not let them in. If they tell you things will go better for you if you let them search, don’t believe it and do not let them in. If they force their way in, do not try to stop them. Tell your lawyer and let him or her handle the violation of your rights. If the entry and search is illegal, any evidence the police find will be suppressed.

Your car. It is easier for the police to search your car without your permission or a warrant because you have less of an expectation of privacy in your car. If the officer asks for permission, that is a sign that they do not have a legal right to search. Do not give the police permission to search your car. If the officer says they’ll get a drug dog if you don’t let them search. Tell them to go ahead and get the dog, but do not let them search.

Your person. The police have the right to search you if you are under arrest or if they reasonably believe you have a weapon. Again, if they ask for your permission, that means they don’t have a right to search you. Do not give them permission to pat you down or search your pockets.

For more advice on your constitutional rights, get our free downloads: Police Encounters 101 and Search and Arrest Guide.

Get assistance from experienced Kansas criminal defense lawyers

If you are the target of a criminal investigation, or if you have been arrested or charged with a crime, get help from a Kansas criminal lawyer as soon as possible. The Manhattan criminal attorneys at Addair Thurston Chtd. will enforce your rights and protect you from improper police and prosecution tactics.

To consult with one of our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys, complete the form on this page or call our toll-free number.

Addair Thurston Chtd.
Manhattan, Kansas criminal defense lawyers

900 Poyntz Ave.
Manhattan, Kansas 66502

725 N. Washington Street
Junction City, Kansas 66441