You have different rights under state and federal laws that apply in different personal circumstances. For example, your property ownership rights come into play when you file for divorce or when dealing with a boundary dispute with your neighbor.
Some of your most important rights protect you when you are the subject of some kind of state investigation or prosecution. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which includes the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, help establish specific protections for individuals facing criminal charges or subject to an investigation by regulatory agencies or local law enforcement officers.
When dealing with the police, there are two specific kinds of rights that you need to know about for your own safety.
Your Fourth Amendment rights
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police want to go through your property or your home, they need a warrant, probable cause or permission to do so.
Police officers also need a justification to seize your property. If you are aware of your Fourth Amendment rights, you may tell a police officer that you won’t let them in your front door when they show up unexpectedly without a warrant. You may also realize that you can ask an officer if they want to detain you or if you’re free to go during an encounter on the street.
Your Miranda rights
Technically, your Miranda rights result from a Supreme Court ruling and expand on your basic rights by requiring that police officers advise you of your rights. Your Miranda rights include the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney represent you in criminal court.
Although in some countries put people have to disclose information to police officers if they intend to use that information in their defense strategy later, that is not necessary in the United States of America. Those under arrest can refuse to answer questions or may choose to do so only with the support of an attorney.
People who don’t know their rights are easy targets for law enforcement, who may trick, manipulate or coerce them into making mistakes that hurt their chances of a defense a successful defense later. Knowing your rights when accused of or facing an investigation for criminal offenses can help you avoid criminal prosecution.