June is the month for graduation parties, outdoor barbecues, music festivals, warm weather and the start of Summer fun! Many of these events include alcoholic beverages. While drinking alcohol is legal, common, and socially acceptable, drinking to the point of impairment may not be.
Someone who is intoxicated in public may violate the law. If they disturb another person, they could be charged with the criminal offense of disorderly conduct. Frequently, a fight erupts that could lead to assault, battery or domestic battery charges. If an impaired person gets into a motor vehicle, a charge of DUI could result, even if the vehicle was never driven or the engine started. And a parent who permits their underage kids and their friends to consume alcohol at a home or hotel party could face criminal and/or civil liability if an intoxicated minor gets into an accident after leaving the party.
Therefore, we encourage our clients and friends to celebrate safely and to drink responsibly. Accidents involving alcohol are avoidable, and sometimes fatal. In the event that someone does get into trouble with the law and the police are involved, we want to remind you of your important constitutional rights.
The Constitution Protects Us All
The Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments of the United States Constitution provide the basic rights of citizens under arrest:
The Fifth Amendment says that “No person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”
The Sixth Amendment gives the accused the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury, the right to be informed of the charge, the right to confront witnesses against him, the right to subpoena witnesses in his favor, and the right to an attorney.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail, excess fines and the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment.
The Fourteenth Amendment extended these same rights to people arrested for violations of State laws.
These rights were summarized in the“Miranda Warnings” resulting from a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1966, which are required when a person is in police custody and about to be questioned:
Keep in mind that any voluntary statements made by a person prior to being taken into police custody can be used in court. Therefore, I caution clients against talking with the police if there is any possibility, however remote, that they could be connected with any unlawful activity until they first talk to their lawyer.
If you or someone you know has been arrested and are facing traffic or criminal charges, or loss of your driving privileges, call Martucci Law Office today at 630-980-8333 to schedule your free initial office consultation. Learn how we can protect your constitutional rights and help you out of a legal hardship.