If you’ve ever watched an episode of “Law and Order” or “Cops,” you probably know that the police are supposed to read someone their rights when they get arrested. You may also know that these are called your Miranda rights. They’re called Miranda rights because they came out of a famous Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona. In that case, the United States Supreme Court made a law that requires that each person must be informed about his or her 5th Amendment rights.
There are several parts to a proper reading of your Miranda rights in Arkansas:
- You have the right to remain silent.
This means that you cannot be forced to speak. A police officer can ask you a question, but you cannot be forced to say anything. And you shouldn’t say anything.
- Anything that you say will be used against you.
If you say something that is harmful to you, rest assured it will be used against you. The police have a great memory and they won’t forget what you say.
- You have the right to have an attorney present for questioning.
This is your right and you should use it! A good criminal defense lawyer will not let you say anything that could come back to haunt you. Once you ask for a lawyer, the questions have to stop.
- If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.
Just because the State of Arkansas might provide you a lawyer, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire your own. A public defender cannot give your case the attention that a criminal defense lawyer can.
Once you are read these Miranda rights, you need to be very, very careful about what you say. No matter how good you are, you aren’t going to talk yourself out of a pair of handcuffs. All that you need to say is “I want to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.” Anything else is just asking for trouble. Even if you have to go to the bathroom, make sure you ask for a lawyer first. Once you ask for a lawyer, the questions should stop. If they don’t, those questions won’t be able to be used against you..
Again, the best thing you can do is ask for a lawyer and be quiet. If you did say something, it is all the more important that you call a criminal defense lawyer. He or she will be able to determine whether you were given your proper Miranda warnings. If you weren’t, he or she might still be able to get your statements thrown out.