Recently in Criminal Law Category

September 12, 2014

What can Ray Rice's case teach Mississippi about Domestic Assault?

ray-rice-punch-ap_296.jpgAs a huge NFL fan, specifically of the Cleveland Browns, it gave me complete and unbridled satisfaction when Ray Rice was cut from the Baltimore Ravens. However, the reason for his abrupt dismissal from the team was a despicable act which we as a society cannot tolerate.

Everyone is probably familiar with the facts of this case. On February 15, 2014, the day after Valentine's Day mind you, Ray Rice and his then fiance Janay Palmer were both arrested and charged with domestic assault. Video surveillance captured Ray dragging his unconscious fiance out of the elevator. Police reports reflect that Ray had knocked Janay out cold. Ray filed assault charges against Janay as well. This is a pretty common tactic in cases like this.

On March 27th, the case was presented to a grand jury which indicted Ray for aggravated assault. This is a felony which carries up to 5 years in prison. The assault charges against Janay were dropped. On the next day, Ray and Janay were married. The two were originally scheduled to wed in the summer but why wait? In Mississippi a spouse cannot testify against another spouse. That's called the spousal privilege. However, this privilege does not apply in domestic violence cases. New Jersey has a similar privilege which does not apply in domestic cases. So either Ray and Janay just couldn't wait to get married OR they were getting married in order to make it more difficult for a jury to convict Ray.

Well, Ray was offered a plea deal for probation which he rejected. He then applied for and was received in a pretrial diversion program. If he completes the six month program the charge would be erased from his record.

Ray and Janay met with executives from both the NFL and the Ravens. No one knows what was discussed but we presume they were asked what happened inside the elevator. After the meetings, Ray was suspended for two games. Case closed. Or was it?

On September 8, 2014 TMZ released a video from inside the elevator. TMZ obtained the video from the casino. Both the NFL and Ravens quickly explained that neither had seen the video. Later that same day the Ravens cut Ray and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Several questions remain. A law enforcement official revealed that a copy of the elevator video had been sent to the NFL, contradicting the NFL's position. But did we need the video? Everyone saw the original video with Ray dragging an unconscious Janay out. How did she get that way? Ray admitted to hitting her. Did we need to see it to believe it?

Domestic violence in any shape, form, or fashion is wrong. Whether it's the man or woman (and yes there are cases where women assault men). Mississippi's domestic laws are strict. If you are arrested for domestic violence, you must stay in jail for 24 hours and see a judge before you can bond out of jail. A first offense conviction can land you in jail for 12 months plus you are forbidden from possessing a gun under federal law. For subsequent offenses, the jail time increases. If the assault causes serious bodily injury you could be facing 20 years in jail.

We have strong laws in Mississippi but why do we still see such tragic domestic violence cases? I think we see from Ray Rice's case that a domestic violence victim can be the problem. In this case the victim, Janay, stood behind Ray despite being knocked out. We have witnessed other cases where victims with a history of being abused consistently stand up for their abusers. This makes the prosecutor's case very difficult to prove if you have a victim refusing to cooperate.

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September 11, 2014

20 People Indicted on Federal Drug Charges

At least 20 people are facing federal drug charges in three separate indictments this week. About 15 of those people arrested are from Mississippi. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the indictments are allegedly the result of an extensive Organized Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. This network was reportedly involved in the distribution of over 100 kilograms of methamphetamine between Mississippi and California.

Drugs Manufactured in California

The drugs are suspected to have been manufactured in a super-lab somewhere in California. Officials also suspect that the drugs were trafficked in private vehicles and through the U.S. Postal Service. Of the 20 charged, 16 were arrested in central Mississippi and California. Firearms and ammunition were also seized during arrests. If convicted, many of the suspects could be facing 20 years to life in prison.

Federal Drug Charges

Federal drug charges involving crack cocaine and crystal meth often hold the strictest penalties for defendants. With mandatory minimum laws, even first-time offenders can serve lengthy sentences in federal prisons. Effectively removing a judge's discretion in sentencing, mandatory minimums can even send non-violent offenders to prison for 10 years, 20 years or longer.

The Complexity of a Federal Case

Criminal defense cases, especially where drugs are involved, are much more complicated than criminal cases in state courts. Procedural differences and the higher level of punishment involved make federal drug cases more difficult for criminal defense lawyers. This is why it's so important to have an experienced lawyer fighting for your rights.

When to Contact a Lawyer

The experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC has successfully represented defendants in drug cases in Mississippi State and Federal courts. If you've been arrested and indicted on federal drug charges, you should contact a criminal defense attorney with successful drug case experience as soon as possible.

With mandatory minimum laws, you can't afford to have somebody on your side that isn't completely dedicated to your freedom. We're not here to judge you. We're here to be your advocate in the complex criminal justice system. Our ultimate goal is to get any and all charges against you dismissed. The dedication of Coxwell & Associates paid off in two (2) federal drug cases. In both instances in Jackson the accused people were found not guilty. Unfortunately for clients, this does not happen every time, but an experienced group of attorneys like those at Coxwell & Associates helps provide the accused a "leg up." Call Coxwell & Associates if you have a criminal problem, big or small or if you have been seriously injured in a accident.

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September 3, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Arrests

Over the holiday weekend, law enforcement officials in and around Jackson were out in full force. According to WJTV News Channel 12, State Troopers set up a variety of DUI checkpoints throughout the long weekend during their "Holiday Safety Blitz." Listed below are the arrests and citations made during this period of increased law enforcement activity.

Labor Day Weekend "Holiday Safety Blitz"

• 905 Hazards
• 776 Non-hazards
• 2 Drug arrests
• 1 Felony arrest
• 68 Collisions
• 24 Injuries
• 1 Fatality

It's important to note that this list probably only reflects the citations and arrests made by State Troopers during their increased period of enforcement over the weekend. Many local law enforcement agencies stepped up enforcement over the holiday weekend too.

DUI Arrests

If you or a loved one was arrested and charged with drunk driving over the holiday weekend, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Whether you refused the breath test or had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 % or higher, you need to speak with a lawyer. Public defenders are often incredibly overburdened, especially after holiday weekends. In addition to fines and a suspension of your license, a DUI on your record can have a huge impact on your future.

Drug Arrests

Equally important, if you've been arrested and charged with some type of drug offense, you need to speak with an attorney immediately. Depending upon how much of what type of drug you were charged with, you might be facing charges in Mississippi State or Federal courts. Even misdemeanor drug charges can carry relatively hefty penalties in the State of Mississippi, so don't take a drug arrest lightly.

When to Call a Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been arrested over the holiday weekend or anytime throughout the year, you need to call a lawyer as soon as possible. You do have the right against self-incrimination. Don't tell arresting or investigating law enforcement officers anything that might incriminate you. Just ask to call your lawyer. Whether you're facing your first DUI or second drug offense, trusting your future to an overburdened public defender is taking a great risk with your future. You need a skilled lawyer with proven criminal defense experience.

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August 21, 2014

Man Arrested after Police Shoot Truck

Recently, an incident that happened in Tchula sent a man to jail after police officers fired at least 11 rounds into his truck. According to WJTV News Channel 12, on the night of August 8, 53-year-old Earl Anderson was taken to jail after allegedly assaulting an officer with his truck. For whatever reason, Anderson's truck was fired upon by law enforcement officials, no less than 11 times.

Very few details of the case have been released, but Anderson was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer with a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, fleeing, public endangerment, reckless driving, open container and driving with a suspended license.

He was taken to Holmes County Jail and booked on a variety of charges. At this time, officials with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are investigating the shooting. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for a case consultation today.

The attorneys at Coxwell & Associates have real experience actually helping people who are charged with criminal offenses. In order to let you see the real experience, the attorneys have cases listed on their web site showing the variety of criminal cases they have handled over the past thirty-four (34) years.

August 14, 2014

Man Arrested in Connection with Stolen Diesel Tank

Earlier this week, a man in Holmes County was arrested in connection with a diesel tank theft ring. According to WJTV News Channel 12, Sylvester Nicholson was allegedly found to be in possession of one of the stolen tanks. At this time, he has only been charged with possession of stolen property.

Authorities are likely trying to determine if he was responsible for the theft. WJTV News also reports that multiple farmers have had thousands of gallons of diesel fuel stolen recently.

If you or a loved one is facing charges of possession of stolen property, burglary or robbery, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Don't take a chance with an overburdened public defender. Trust your future to an experienced lawyer with a proven track record.

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August 7, 2014

Stolen Weapons Arrest in Rankin County

An arrest has been made in a case involving stolen weapons and other items from two homes in Rankin County. According to WJTV News Channel 12, 31-year-old Charles Niklos Ray was arrested by officials with the Hinds and Rankin County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday morning.

He allegedly stole guns, ammunition, an ATV and other items from two unoccupied houses last Friday. Authorities report receiving a tip that Ray was at a hotel in Jackson, prior to the arrest.

They are also trying to connect Ray with an abandoned truck found in the woods off Highway 25, in which some of the stolen items were found. Not all of the stolen property has been accounted for, and law enforcement officials are still conducting an investigation. If you or a loved one is facing burglary or robbery charges, contact the experienced criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today.

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August 6, 2014

Convicted in the Court of Public Opinion

A few weeks ago, some friends and I got together for our once-a-month book club and the topic of conversation turned to the much-publicized Georgia case involving a father charged with murder for the death of his two year old son. If you aren't familiar with the case, a quick Google search will give you more information than you probably ever wanted or needed to know about Justin Harris, the accused father. You'll see information about his internet history, his employment history, his eating habits on the day of his son's death, and you'll see articles about the text messages he was sending that day. The text messages are where our book club conversation spurred this blog post.

jurybox.jpgBecause I am a defense attorney, I realize that my view of those accused of crimes is somewhat different than most of the public. I try to give those accused the benefit of the doubt, and I always keep in mind that the media--whether it's Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, or a local blogger--rarely has 100% of the facts. Or if they do have 100% of the facts, they are not knowledgeable about which facts are applicable to the case at hand. When I heard about the tragic death of two-year-old Cooper Harris after being left in a hot car after his father seemingly forgot about him, I was particularly doubtful that this was murder. While I'm not a parent (except to two dogs), I hear that it's a pretty exhausting, full-time job--on top of your other full-time job. I also know that my mom has told a story about the time she drove all the way to work with me in the backseat of the car, and it wasn't until she reached around to grab her purse did she see me strapped in the car seat and realized she had forgotten to drop me off. So I could easily imagine a scenario when something like Cooper Harris' death might occur. A tragedy? No doubt. But murder?

As the story unfolded and the media attention increased, Justin Harris was charged with felony murder and child abuse for the death of his son. I immediately did not agree with this decision and felt it was possibly a response to media hype. Then details started to emerge--and the way they were portrayed in the media did not make Mr. Harris look very good. There was live coverage of his preliminary hearing, and by the end of it, there probably weren't many people who didn't think Justin Harris was a no-good, murderous scumbag who deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison--or worse. The only problem with this opinion is that it comes way, way too early in the judicial process.

There have been posts on this blog about preliminary hearings, and the topic alone could cover one blog post (Merrida and Chuck--that's my topic for next time--don't steal it!), but here's a very brief, simple rundown. A preliminary hearing is also known as a probable cause hearing. They teach entire classes in law school on what constitutes probable cause and what probable cause really means, but all you need to know is this: at a preliminary hearing, the judge will decide whether it is more likely than not, based on the evidence presented, that a crime has been committed. If he or she determines that it is more likely than not that a crime was committed, then he or she has also determined there is probable cause for the charges.

At preliminary hearings, typically excluded evidence--like hearsay--is admissible to show probable cause, even if it will be excluded during the actual guilt phase. At Justin Harris' preliminary hearing, law enforcement presented evidence from Mr. Harris' personal cell phone, showing that during the day, while his son was still in the backseat of the hot car, Mr. Harris was exchanging text messages of a sexual and explicit nature with several different women--none of whom was his wife. Mr. Harris' attorney argued at the preliminary hearing that the evidence of "sexting" had no bearing on the case and was a tool to "publicly shame him." The judge allowed the texting evidence because it tended to show Mr. Harris' state of mind at the time of death. Which brings us back to my book club meeting.

One of my friends--who I in no way fault for her opinion, since it's clearly one the judge shared--was very upset by the fact that Mr. Harris was sexting while his son was dying, and she named this fact as one of the things that led her to believe he was guilty. I interjected that the texting evidence had literally no bearing on his intent to kill his child; it may make him a sleazy person, a horrible husband, and a questionable father, but just because he's adulterous doesn't mean he's a murderer. Most of the people in the book club didn't really agree with me, but that's not ever stopped me before from stating my opinion, so I continued. I told them all that the type of evidence allowed at the preliminary hearing--the text messages--would (or should, to be more accurate) not be allowed in at trial because it is exactly the type of evidence the Rules of Evidence do not allow. Law Books.jpg

Rule 402 of the Mississippi Rules of Evidence states that all relevant evidence is admissible, unless it's excluded elsewhere in the rules, and evidence that is not relevant is not admissible. The first argument against the text message evidence is that it's not relevant to the murder charge. As I said earlier, the fact that Justin Harris was sending explicit photos to women makes him a lot of things, but it does not make him a murderer. The prosecutors argued that the text showed his state of mind at the time--he wasn't thinking about his child--but I find it hard to believe that a parent is thinking about their child 100% of the time. Again, I'm not a parent, so I don't know from personal experience, but the earlier story about my mom leaving me in the car makes me believe it is possible for a parent to take her mind off her child and not want to kill it.

Rule 403 excludes evidence that may be relevant if it might cause unfair prejudice to the defendant. If we were to believe that the text messaging evidence has some sort of relevance to the murder charge, then it almost certainly should be excluded under Rule 403. The mere fact that my book club friend weighed it so heavily in her mind is proof of the fact that it is unfairly prejudicial to Mr. Harris. The key issue in the murder case will be the intent to leave the child in the car, and the explicit text messages are simply nothing more than character evidence to make jurors hate Mr. Harris. It is easy to believe someone is a murderer if you already think he's a bad guy for other reasons.

Which brings me to Rule 404. Rule 404 excludes evidence of the accused's character if it is being used to show that he is a bad person, and so he must have been being a bad person at the time in question, too. There are times when character evidence and evidence of "other bad acts" are allowed--when showing motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident. This blog post is already a little long, so I won't apply each of these exceptions to the Harris messages, but I will reiterate what I've already said: doing bad things at one time does not prove that you've done them a second time. The Rules of Evidence support that argument, and they are meant to prevent the type of poisonous thinking that the media feeds into.

I've inundated you with information in this post, and I hope you've stuck with me to the end. If there's one thing I want you to take away from this post, it is this: think about what you read or hear from the media. Think about the judicial system and the way you would want it to work if you ever found yourself accused of a crime. Would you want every text message you've ever sent or every internet search you've ever conducted to be splashed across the homepage of CNN? The Rules of Evidence and Rules of Procedure were created to protect defendants--yes, even the guilty ones--from unfairly prejudicial and irrelevant evidence. Justin Harris may be a bad husband and a sleazeball, but even bad people love their children. It is best to leave the determination of his guilt to the jurors charged with hearing the case--because unfortunately, the court of public opinion doesn't protect the accused from unfairly prejudicial and irrelevant evidence.

July 23, 2014

Multiple Drug and Burglary Arrests in Clinton

Last week, at least nine arrests were made in connection with a burglary and drug raid in Clinton. According to WJTV News Channel 12, a burglary at the Shell convenience store on Clinton Boulevard and a drug raid at a house on Suzy Lane were connected through various suspects. Initial reports indicate that nine people were arrested in connection those crimes and a variety of other crimes around Jackson.

Shell Store Burglarized

At around 2:30 a.m. on Monday morning, the Shell store on Clinton Boulevard was burglarized by two suspects. Law enforcement officers did acquire in-store video footage of the suspects. One of the suspects apparently had a distinctive tattoo.

Suzy Lane Drug Bust

On Monday evening, officers took Edward Burtts into custody as a result of a drug bust on Suzy Lane. Because of a tattoo, they allegedly connected Burtts to the Shell store burglary and other burglaries around South Clinton. An additional suspect, William E. Weeden, was also taken into custody in connection with the burglary.

Seven Additional Arrests

Law enforcement officials from various agencies made an additional seven arrests in connection with these two incidents and other crimes. Additional charges from the Jackson Police Department, Hinds County Sherriff's Department and the Madison Sherriff's Office may be pending.

Drug Arrests

Some of the suspects are facing a variety of charges ranging from possession of paraphernalia to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. With mandatory minimums, even the mildest of these charges could carry heavy penalties, so accused parties should contact experienced criminal defense attorneys with proven drug case experience swiftly for the best possible outcome.

Burglary Arrests

It sounds like both Edward Burtts and William Weeden are facing multiple charges from various jurisdictions, with additional charges pending. Burglary, larceny and robbery convictions can also carry heavy sentences, so it would be unwise to trust your case to an inexperienced attorney or an overburdened public defender. Nothing is more important than making sure your rights are being protected during a criminal case. Whether you're facing misdemeanor or felony charges in state or Federal courts, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible for the best representation.

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July 16, 2014

Drug Bust in Hinds County

On Sunday, a drug bust in Hinds County landed 41-year-old Anthony Demond Thompson in jail. The incident happened at around 7:00 p.m. at 557 Kirkley Drive in Jackson. According to WJTV News Channel 12, deputies found five pounds of high grade marijuana, scales, cell phones and a small caliber hand gun during their search. Thompson's mother was also questioned on the scene. Very few details have been released about this bust, which is being called an ongoing investigation. WJTV News did report that law enforcement authorities are hoping to arrest more people in combination with this bust.

After a Drug Arrest

After any kind of arrest involving drugs, whether you're facing state or federal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can ascertain whether or not you were lawfully searched and be your advocate during this difficult time. Even first-time nonviolent offenders can face heavy sentences due to mandatory minimums.

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July 9, 2014

Madison County Drug Arrest

Last week, a man in Madison County was arrested for allegedly having 10 pounds of marijuana and 125 doses of ecstasy in his possession. According to WJTV News Channel 12, Fred Carvin Jr. was charged with possession of marijuana and ecstasy with intent to distribute. He was released from jail on a $10,000 bond.

The arrest happened on I-55 near exit 125. Apparently, he was pulled over, and law enforcement officials claimed to have smelled marijuana in the vehicle, which Carvin denies. They searched the automobile and found a small bag of marijuana and then found 10 pounds in the trunk along with the ecstasy.

Due to the amount of Marijuana involved, if convicted Carvin could face very stiff sentencing, even if he's a first time offender. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with possession, contact the skilled criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today.

The State of Mississippi recently enacted H.B. 585 which made substantial changes in many criminal punishments. However substantial amounts of drugs still carry very harsh punishments. This gentlemen needs to get legal counsel immediately.

Merrida Coxwell and Charles Mullins are two (2) of the partners at Coxwell & Associates. Both are experienced attorneys due to the number of cases they have handled and the complexity of cases. While many other lawyers advertise "they have experience" a search of their legal backgrounds show otherwise. A search of Merrida Coxwell and Chuck Mullins on Google produces page after page of stories about real cases. If you have a criminal problem or have incurred a serious injury, call Merrida Coxwell or Chuck Mullins at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC.

July 3, 2014

I-55 Drug Bust in Jackson

On Tuesday night, three people were arrested in a drug bust on I-55. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the three suspects, Jill Norman, Niesha Moore and Brandy Cain, were all charged with possession of meth and possession of paraphernalia. Two of the suspects were booked in the Hinds County Jail and released. The third suspect allegedly had an outstanding warrant and was taken to the Rankin County Jail.

WJTV News reports that this is an ongoing investigation, and officials with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics expect to make additional arrests. Very few details about the bust have been released, but if you or a loved one is facing drug possession and paraphernalia charges, contact the skilled criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today. Whether you're facing charges in federal or state court, our experienced defense attorneys are ready to fight for your rights.

June 27, 2014

MHP Chopper Locates Eleven Marijuana Plants

On Wednesday, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety's (DPS) new helicopter took its maiden-mission flight. By 3:30 p.m., 11 marijuana plants were located and seized. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) is working with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in an attempt to eradicate marijuana growth around the state. This particular mission was conducted in Tchula.

No information was released on whether or not any charges were made, so it's possible that this seizure was conducted without any arrests. If you or a loved one is facing drug procession or trafficking charges of any kind, at the state or federal level, contact the skilled attorneys at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (228) 248-1600 for a case consultation today.

June 27, 2014

Cocaine Possession Arrest in Vicksburg

Last week, a 20-year-old Vicksburg man was arrested for possession of cocaine. According to WJTV News Channel 12, Karllandys Demichael Clark was arrested during a traffic stop. As of last Friday, he was being held without bond and awaiting his initial court appearance at the Issaquena County Correctional Facility. According to WJTV News, law enforcement officers found a bottle containing crack cocaine and powder cocaine during a traffic stop which happened at Drummond and Realty Streets.

Inequality and The War on Drugs

Sadly, the so-called "War on Drugs" does little more than highlight the overwhelming inequality for people of various social classes across the country. With more people in prisons and jails than ever, and increasingly high recidivism rates, it's easy to study the war on drugs as socio-economical class warfare. One of the clearest examples of the war on drug's class-warfare agenda is how different sentences, mandatory minimums and punishments are utilized for different types of drugs. Typically, drug forms that are used more often by people in lower socio-economic classes often carry much higher sentences. A good example of this inequality is the difference between an arrest for cocaine and an arrest for crack cocaine.

Crack Versus Cocaine Charges

Sentencing and mandatory minimums are often much higher for drug cases where crack cocaine is involved than where traditional cocaine is involved. In the early 1990's the general public was lead to believe that crack was infinitely more dangerous than cocaine, and harsher sentences were adopted. The same can be said for methamphetamine sentencing as well. Both of these drugs share a common theme, they're typically used by people who are in a lower socio-economic category than say, powder cocaine drug users or even marijuana users, in some cases.

What to do After a Drug Arrest

After any drug arrest, is absolutely critical to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can be your advocate during a difficult time. Don't trust your fate to an overburdened public defender. Depending on what type of drug was involved, you could be looking at a minimum of 10 years for certain charges, even if you're a first-time offender. Contact the experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for skilled representation in state and federal court at (228) 248-1600.

June 20, 2014

MBN Drug Bust

$100K MBN Drug Bust
On Wednesday, a drug-bust involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies landed a Gulf Coast man in jail. According to WJTV News Channel 12, over $100,000 in marijuana was seized, along with over $40,000 in cash, eight firearms and two automobiles. Clifton Barry Hall, 60 years old, of D'Iberville, was arrested earlier in the day, prior to the big bust. He allegedly had more than a kilogram of marijuana on him and was charged with intent to distribute.
Hall is being held on a $25,000 bond at the Harrison County Adult Detention Facility. At this time, very few details about this drug bust have been released. WJTV News reports that this arrest was somehow connected to a 10-month investigation being conducted by local, state and federal authorities. If you or a loved one is facing state or federal drug charges, contact the experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (228) 248-1600 today.

June 20, 2014

Do You Know Your Rights?

Everybody knows what "pleading the fifth" means, but do you really understand your rights? If you're pulled over by a police officer or taken into custody, do you know what to do? Chances are, you may have a pretty good idea, but you're still a little fuzzy on the details. After all, you know you have the right to remain silent, but that's easier said than done, when an imposing authority figure begins drilling you with questions. Nobody can take your rights away from you. Should you ever be arrested, detained or questioned for any reason you need to have a full and complete understanding of your rights.

Just the Basics

• The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures.
• The Fifth Amendment protects an individual's right against self-incrimination.

The Fourth Amendment: Just the Facts

Under the Fourth Amendment, you do have the right to refuse consent of car or home searches. You don't have to consent to a search, just because a police officer asks you. In the eyes of the law, a seizure must be reasonable. Did the officer use physical force or a show of authority? Were you detained? In some cases, it may be difficult to recognize a show of authority.

Need to Know: Fifth Amendment

Under the Fifth Amendment, you do have the right not to speak with police officers. If you're being arrested, ask to contact your lawyer. Even if you've been read your "Miranda Rights," you still might think it's okay to talk to police officers. Don't throw away your right against self incrimination. Instead of talking to the police, talk to your lawyer.

Protecting Your Rights

More often than you would think, a misunderstanding of one's rights can land them in jail or prison. In addition to understanding and exercising your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, skilled representation is an absolute necessity. The most important thing you can do after any arrest is contact a skilled criminal defense attorney. If your rights have been violated, or evidence has been obtained unlawfully, an experienced criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the illegally-obtained evidence and help protect your rights. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime at the state or federal level, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for experienced representation.