Know Your Rights – Remain Silent and Hire a Lawyer
Today almost everyone has at least heard of their “Miranda rights”. As a defense lawyer that warms my heart. Unfortunately however, very few non-lawyers are able to not only understand their Miranda rights, but to have the strength and presence of mind to exercise them when it matters most. Many times the ONLY evidence suggesting a defendant is responsible for a crime is the defendant’s own statements, and the “damage” of these statements is often done long before the defendant’s Miranda rights are triggered. In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Arizona v. Miranda, and held that law enforcement officials must advise an individual of their constitutional rights to legal representation and against self-incrimination prior to conducting any custodial interrogation. Following Miranda, defendants “in custody” could only be interrogated after being advised of their constitutional rights and then waiving them.
One popular misconception of Miranda is that officers need to Mirandize every potential suspect or witness. In reality however, in Massachusetts, officers do not necessarily have to Mirandize every witness simply because one may ultimately prove to be a suspect and/or get charged with the crime. For example, let’s assume an officer is called to a house to investigate an assault that occurred earlier in the evening during a house party. If during the course of the officer’s investigation, one guest makes a statement to an officer that suggests he was responsible for the assault, the Court will likely find that the individual was not in custody at the time he made the statement (i.e. he was free to leave). Under those circumstances, the confession would likely be admissible at trial. That’s why it is so important for every individual to know their rights – and to not rely on the police officers to explain them to you.
As an experienced criminal defense attorney I scrutinize the details of my clients’ encounters with the police to ensure my clients’ Constitutional rights were respected, and to make sure any purported waiver of those rights was knowing, willing, and voluntarily made. I have had tremendous success in excluding my clients’ statements where they were obtained unlawfully and in violation of their rights. If you have any doubts or concerns about speaking to police – remain silent, and call an experienced private criminal defense lawyer. You may invoke your right to remain silent and hire counsel at any time.
If you have questions or issues, or have been arrested for a crime and need aggressive and experienced legal assistance, call us. We are available 24/7 when you need us the most – 508-793-2000.