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Every person facing criminal allegations has some basic rights

Most individuals in Tennessee know they have some basic rights when it comes to criminal cases; at the very least, individuals have seen such rights referenced in television shows and movies. However, in the heat of the moment, many people forget to establish their constitutional rights during an arrest, which can hinder later efforts at criminal defense.

You may not think you'll ever deal with a criminal issue, but misunderstandings do happen, which is why every person should understand their basic rights in criminal cases. First, everyone has a right to remain silent when facing criminal allegations. Maintaining silence ensures you don't say something that could cause problems in court later. Seeking counsel from someone experienced in criminal defense matters before discussing a case with anyone else helps you understand what information is best to share and how.

In cases involving drunk driving allegations, individuals in Tennessee have the right to refuse a field sobriety tests. Because these tests are subjective and unreliable, it is often better not to take them. Note that a refusal of a breath test is different, and can result in the suspension of your license automatically.

Individuals can also refuse searches of cars, pockets, purses and other containers unless a warrant is present. Finally, every person has a right to speak with an attorney before answering any questions from authorities. This is true both after or before any arrest is made, and asking for an attorney will not be seen by either a jury or a judge as an action related to guilt.

Even if you have already given up your rights by speaking to authorities or consenting to a search of some type, your criminal defense is not ruined. An experienced legal representative can review the situation and suggest the best possible method for future defense.

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