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Woman arrested, given more charges while in booking

According to authorities with the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office, a 24-year-old woman who was being booked into jail on charges related to writing a bad check is now facing more charges. Detention deputies allege that the woman failed to tell them she had a needle when they asked if she had anything that could hurt them, and a female deputy pricked her finger with it as a result.

The incident reportedly occurred on Jan. 16 while the woman was being searched as part of the routine of being processed into the facility. She is now facing additional charges of third degree assault, third degree promoting of contraband into the jail and reckless endangerment.

The woman’s three new charges are all misdemeanor offenses. She was booked into the Etowah County Detention Center before later being released on a $2,500 bond. Authorities have not indicated when she is scheduled to appear in court to answer her charges. The sheriff indicated that many inmates do not understand the risks that deputies face from drug paraphernalia such as dirty needles.

A person who is criminally charged has certain constitutional rights. Those rights include the right to remain silent, to request an attorney, to present a defense and a right against self-incrimination, among others. In this case, one interesting fact is that if the woman had disclosed the existence of the needle to the deputy, she would have been incriminating herself for yet another criminal offense for alleged possession of drug paraphernalia. A criminal defense attorney might argue that demanding the woman reveal the needle thus violated her constitutional rights against self-incrimination in order to try to get the additional charges against her dismissed.

Source: AL.com, “Hidden needle during jail booking lands woman with assault, endangerment charges”, William Thornton, Jan. 26, 2015

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