Being accused of a criminal offense can be a shocking experience. For many criminal defendants, the moments during and after an arrest are a blur. Unfortunately, many criminal defendants hurt their cases by making statements to police officers that are later used against them. Most people know that they have a “right to remain silent” during a police interaction but few realize just how profound this right actually is.
Whether you have been arrested before or you simply enjoy police procedural television shows, you have probably heard the statement, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do may be used against you in court.” The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the foundation of our right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment states that criminal defendants cannot be compelled, or forced, to testify against themselves. In other words, they have a right against self-incrimination.
The Supreme Court’s 1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona led to Miranda warnings. These are the warnings that police must give to criminal defendants before an interrogation. The police must inform the defendant that he or she has a right to stay silent and the right to an attorney.
Many criminal defendants ignore their right to remain silent and allow police to question them without their lawyer present. Some assume that remaining silent will hurt their case or make them appear guilty. Others falsely believe that the police will grant leniency in exchange for their answers. Criminal defendants who have been falsely accused of crimes they did not commit may assume that because they have nothing to hide, they may as well submit to police interrogations and ignore their right to an attorney.
Unfortunately, innocent people are convicted of crimes all of the time. Many of these wrongful convictions are the result of government misconduct. Our legal system is not perfect. This is why it is crucial for anyone who has been accused of a crime to decline police questioning and contact a lawyer for help.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges for theft, domestic battery, drunk driving, a sex offense, or another criminal offense, contact the DuPage County criminal defense attorneys at J. Aldrich Law, P.C. for help. We will ensure that your rights are not violated while we build a strong defense on your behalf. Call us at 630-953-3000 for a free consultation.