After experiencing an arrest, you are probably experiencing a jumble of emotions, including trepidation, disbelief, embarrassment, and fury. How will an arrest impact your immediate and long-term future? Regardless of the circumstances, when you have an experienced and tenacious criminal defense attorney by your side, the outcomes will likely be better for you.
Understanding Your Miranda Rights
If the arresting officers have done their job right, you have been advised of your Miranda rights. Listen carefully and understand that the Miranda warning is no joke! When you were told that you have the right to remain silent and that whatever you say could be used against you in court, they are not kidding. So stay calm, and respectfully tell them that you will not speak with them until your attorney is present. Do not allow officers to bait you into responding to their queries or commentaries; do not defend yourself or try to explain your side of things. Remain silent.
If You Were Not Mirandized
There are only certain situations in which an officer may not Mirandize you:
- The officer was not acting in accordance with the law.
- When the questioning by police occurs before an arrest or custody.
- When public safety is in jeopardy, such as when an assailant is at large.
- In some DUI or other cases when there is no intention of interrogating you following arrest.
- When the arrest involves a juvenile, who cannot legally be questioned without their parents or guardians present.
- When questioning is being done by someone other than police, like perhaps a security guard at a store.
- When police are simply getting your identifying information.
When Your Attorney Arrives
Once your attorney is present, they will advise you about how much you should say to the police. Your attorney will guide you and will outline your options and potential defense strategies. Depending on the circumstances, you may discuss the following:
- Convincing police to dismiss all charges: In some cases, the police will quickly learn that they have the wrong person in custody.
- Demanding a reduction in charges: Law enforcement may be convinced to offer lesser charges that are more appropriate in your case.
- Striking a plea deal: You may be willing to trade information/testimony for lesser charges.
- The potential for inclusion in a diversion program: You may be eligible for drug court, mental health court, or military diversion rather than incarceration.
- Fighting all charges: You may wish to plead not guilty and fight all charges.
- A guilty plea.