KNOW AND PROTECT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Attorney Ciraulo will aggressively investigate every aspect of your case, pursue every available avenue of defense, and is prepared to zealously represent your legal interests.
Police officers and prosecutors are charged with the duty to protect the public as a whole and may not always have the protection of an individual's rights as their primary objective. It is important that you know your rights and have a skilled advocate on your side. Remember to always be respectful and polite to investigating officers, but you do not have to consent to a search of your home, your automobile, or your person if the police do not have a warrant. You may always seek the advice of an attorney prior to speaking to investigating officers.
FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES THAT GOVERN YOUR CASE
Before you can be convicted of a charged offense, the burden is on the Commonwealth (the Prosecution) to prove unanimously to a jury of your peers that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
There are three fundamental principles that function as the backbone to our system of justice:
(1) Burden of Proof: The burden of proof is on the Commonwealth. You do not have to prove your innocence. The burden of proof never shifts to you.
(2) Presumption of Innocence: You are presumed to be innocent and remain innocent unless and until the Commonwealth proves that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
(3) Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: At trial, the judge will instruct the jury that you must not be convicted of any criminal offense unless and until the Commonwealth has produced evidence that creates in the minds of the jurors an abiding conviction to a moral certainty that you are guilty of the charged offense. If the jury is not so convinced, you must be found not guilty. The jury's verdict must be unanimous.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS AND IMPROPER SEARCHES AND SEIZURE
An improper search or illegal search is one that violates your constitutional right to privacy.
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement in places where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. This includes their home, their person, their vehicle, and their property.
For a search to be reasonable, and therefore proper (or lawful), police MUST have either:
- Reasonable suspicion based on specific and articulable facts that the subject of the search was engaged in illegal activity; or
- A duly applied for, obtained, and executed search warrant based on probable cause.
A court can suppress evidence found during an improper search. When a search is deemed unlawful, any evidence obtained as a result of that search cannot be used against you at trial.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS AND THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
Anyone who has been taken into custody and interrogated by the police must first be read their Miranda rights. The reading of your Miranda rights is known as a ‘Miranda warning' because the police are “warning” you of your constitutional protections:
- The right to remain silent, because anything you say can be used against in court; and
- The right to a lawyer prior to any questioning.
These rights, born out of the 5th and 6th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, are in place to ensure equal protection under the law.
A violation of your Miranda rights may be reason to suppress any incriminating evidence against you. Motions to suppress or motions to exclude evidence flowing from a Miranda Rights violation can be a critical part of your defense. In fact, a violation of your Miranda rights can result in suppression of events or even dismissal of your case.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS AND THE RIGHT AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution holds that you have the right against self-incrimination.
This means that you cannot be forced to answer questions or otherwise provide information about yourself that will likely result in your facing criminal prosecution. It is this amendment that gives you “the right to remain silent.”
If the police violate this right by using improper influence on you (coercing you into making a statement), it may be grounds to have any evidence obtained by virtue of that violation suppressed. It may also be grounds to get your case dismissed.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS AND THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY
The right to have an attorney when you are accused of a crime is found in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
When the charges against you could result in the loss of your freedom, you have the right to an attorney. You also have the right to hire an attorney of your choice. This is true because the right to criminal defense is fundamental to our system of justice and a criminal defense attorney is essential to ensure the defendant has somebody that understands the legal system in their corner.
ATTORNEY CIRAULO WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Attorney Ciraulo can help all criminal defendants including those charged with assaultive type offenses, narcotics related offenses, crimes against property such as robbery, breaking and entering, and larceny, operating under the influence ( OUI / DUI / DWI ) and other serious motor vehicle offenses.
Attorney Ciraulo will represent your interests at all stages of the criminal proceedings including magistrate hearing, arraignment, pre-trial, probable cause hearing, and trial in District, Superior, and United States District Courts.