Being arrested and accused of committing a crime can be an intimidating situation. You may have no idea what to do. At DeBruin Law, we understand how overwhelmed you may feel. We can help. We will make sure your rights are respected throughout the criminal justice process.
You have probably heard of Miranda Rights and seen them given on TV cop shows. The quick lecture police give you when you are arrested is not for dramatic effect. It is required by law and you should pay close attention to what the Miranda Rights include:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
The police are required by law to read you your Miranda Rights any time you are detained, which means you are not free to leave. Generally, this is when the police arrest you. However, officers must also Mirandize you if they detain you anywhere, even if you have not been formally arrested yet. The police cannot hold you at any time or place without first telling you these rights.
Breaking Down Your Rights
It is crucial that you listen to your rights. These rights greatly protect you during your arrest and subsequent questioning.
- Your right to remain silent. Under the law, you are required to identify yourself to police. However, beyond giving your name and showing an ID, you do not have to answer any police questions before or after an arrest. In fact, you should think twice before answering any police questions. It is all too common for individuals to inadvertently provide evidence against themselves by answering questions. Additionally, once you have begun answering questions, you can stop at any time. You have the right to say you are invoking your right to silence and want your attorney.
- Whatever you say can be used against you. This is quite literal. Anything you say before you are Mirandized and whatever you say after you have been read your rights can be used by the police to arrest you and by prosecutors to prove the charges against you. Your words may be misinterpreted and construed by the prosecutor to support your guilt or even an admission to the crime. By remaining silent, you decrease potential evidence against yourself.
- You always have the right to an attorney. When you are arrested, you must be given a reasonable opportunity to contact an attorney or family and friends who can obtain an attorney for you. You always have the right to a lawyer during questioning. If the police try to interrogate you and you have not had the chance to speak with a private lawyer or public defender yet, you should politely refuse to answer any questions until you have an attorney.
- You can be provided with a lawyer. If you or your family cannot afford a private lawyer, you can request a public defender. When you are charged with a crime, you will appear in court for your arraignment. During this time, you can notify the court you need to be assigned a public defender.
Police often do not play fair to try and get you to incriminate yourself before you have been Mirandized. They will delay arresting you and tell you that you are free to go – though you may not feel like you are – in order to get you to answer their questions. However, you have all of these rights at all times, not simply after the police Mirandize you.
A Lansing Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
When you have been accused of a crime, it can be difficult to remember, understand, and invoke your rights. The police will use a number of tactics to get you to talk and say things that can be used against you in court. The best way to protect yourself is to remember you do not have to answer questions and can politely ask for an attorney – no matter how intimidating the police are.
If you have been arrested, contact the experienced criminal defense team of DeBruin Law at 517-324-4303 to schedule an initial case consultation.