If you enjoy watching crime shows on television, you’ve probably watched more than a few scenes where police arrest a suspect. As part of that arrest, the officers likely tell the suspect that they have the right to remain silent. That anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law. That the suspect has a right to an attorney, and if they can’t afford one, the court will appoint one for them.
These statements are part of someone’s Miranda Rights in the United States.
What are your Miranda Rights?
Miranda Rights are part of the protection offered against self-incrimination in the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. They exist to give someone protection from implicating themselves in a crime. Yet, police don’t have to read someone their Miranda Rights when they arrest them. They often read them before they interrogate them. If the police don’t read someone their Miranda Rights before questioning them, officers didn’t follow proper procedure and that can result in the court dismissing someone’s criminal charges.
For your Miranda Rights to protect you, you have to invoke them when the police arrest you or tell you that you are under investigation for a crime. You have to tell the police you want to remain silent and you won’t answer any questioning without an attorney present. You need to ask the police to allow you to contact an attorney and say nothing further.
If you don’t stay silent
If you don’t stay silent, you can expect that what you tell the police will be used against you, often in the most damaging way. What you say could result in you facing criminal charges, facing more criminal charges and providing evidence toward your conviction. Yet, even if you decide to speak with the police without an attorney, you can request one at any point during police questioning.
Any time a police officer asks to question you or arrests you, you need to protect your rights. The first step you need to take is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney can help ensure you refrain from saying something that would make it easier to convict you of criminal charges and can mount a strategic defense against the charges you face.