If You Are Arrested and Charged With a Crime… Two Important Rights to Know.
Right Number One – Rule Number One
Do not speak to the police once you have been arrested
Being arrested is not a pleasant experience.It’s often a shocking, humiliating, and painful experience. Suffering through the indignity of the entire ordeal, from the placement of handcuffs upon your wrists, which are usually too tight, to the photograph that you can’t quite fathom is being taken of you, and finally, to the slow, hollow rumble of the jail cell door closing behind you, is emotionally trying.
You may want to do whatever is necessary to put this terrible experience behind you and pretend it never happened. You might even feel compelled to tell the police what you think might enable you to be free from your confines. I understand this desire, this driving need to just want to “be out of here”, no matter what you have to do. We have been there and we know. However, this is the moment at which YOU are most vulnerable, your guard is down.
The police will read your Miranda rights ask you if you understand them and then seek to speak to you about the event which resulted in your arrest. Miranda warnings were established by the United States Supreme Court for a specific reason. It is a Rule which was created, and implemented into every single police department in the County, from the largest metropolis to the smallest town for YOUR protection.
Therefore, never, never, ever, under any circumstance, speak with the police after you have been read your Miranda rights.
Any deal, promise or concession that the police are offering to you if you speak to them can and should be done through your attorney. This helps to ensure: That you do not say anything that may harm YOUR case.
A lawyer can ensure that the deal, if any exists, is properly prepared so that YOU are protected. You must always remember that silence, your refusal to speak to police, is one small piece of your dignity that you can vigorously hold onto while you are custody. It is also your strongest ally in the battle for your freedom.
Invoking your Right to Silence will allow you stall until reinforcements, in the form of your attorney, can arrive upon the scene to support you. By steadfastly upholding your Right to Silence, you can prevent yourself from saying anything which will severely harm your case and Right to once again be free.
Right Number Two – Rule Number Two.
Ask to speak to an attorney
Immediately upon arrest, ask to speak to an attorney! Once you request an attorney, the Police are not permitted to question you regarding your arrest and the facts and circumstances that surrounded your arrest andor detention. If the police attempt to question after you have verbalized, told the police aloud, your intent to speak with an attorney, any of your statements which are elicited by the police after this request are generally not admissible in Court of law against you.
In many instances, I have learned that the arrested person often feels as though they have not done anything wrong. Having done nothing, the prevailing attitude is that “I don’t have anything to hide, and if I don’t talk to police they will believe that I have done what I am accused of doing.” Also compounding matters, we have been repeatedly told by some of our clients that, “only criminals need to ask for attorneys”.
Once again, the United States Supreme Court, in Miranda v. Arizona, recognized the potential significant and liberty threatening implications of this legitimate human emotional belief. You, as the arrested person, may actually believe that you have not done anything wrong.
However, the law is a complicated maze that even the most seasoned attorneys have difficulty understanding. It is a web that will often ensnare the unsuspecting individual not aware of the finer points of the law. Unfortunately, it is quite often this lack of comprehension of the law which will cause the arrested person to foolishly speak with the police.
The Miranda Court believed that when a person has been arrested there is a real danger that a person will forfeit their Fifth Amendment Right not to incriminate themselves. The Court believed that the presence of Police, the handcuffs, the fear of jail, the entire experience of being arrested would be so overwhelming that the ordinary person would say what ever was necessary to avoid completion of the experience.
In that avoidance attempt, the person would sacrifice their Right against Self-Incrimination. To help the arrested person who probably has no clue about the legal implications of speaking to the police after being arrested, the Court has mandated that the Police must not question you about the arrest after you have requested to speak to an attorney.
It is for this reason, not because “only criminals need attorneys” that you should request to speak to an attorney after being read your Miranda rights.
Bear one thought in your mind at this moment, the Police ALREADY believe that you are a criminal if they have arrested you. It is not the job of a police officer to determine guilt or innocence. Nor is it the job of the Police to feel any sympathy toward your plight. The role of the Police Officer is to enforce the law. If, in enforcing the law, the Police arrest you, it is then the responsibility of the Police to turn you over to the Judiciary system.
Summary of Rules
Suffering through the indignity and the embarrassment of being arrested, in our opinion, is probably the single most negative, emotionally challenging event that can occur in your life. It is a life experience that can often cause emotional scarring. You do not have to assist in this operation. You have no duty or obligation to provide the Police, or the People with information that will be used as a scalpel against you.
You do, however, have a Right to defend yourself against the charges levied against you. But, in defending yourself, do not give, bargain, leverage, lend or trade your Fifth Amendment Right against Self-Incrimination away. This Right is not a piece of property to be bartered with. It is not some chip in a high stakes poker game.
The United States Supreme Court has given you, me and every other person, TWO critical weapons that we can use to defend ourselves from the charges of the Government.
- The Right to Remain to Silent
- The Right to an Attorney