Knowing Your Rights When Being Arrested by a Police Officer in Santa Rosa, San Rafael, CA

By October 14, 2016 August 31st, 2020 Uncategorized

When you are arrested by a police officer, there is a specific set of events that occur. A police officer must follow legal procedures from arrest to actual placement of a suspect in jail.
It’s important to be aware of what these procedures are because if any of these are violated, a criminal defense attorney may be able to build a strong defense from these violations.
An “arrest” is when a police officer takes a suspect into custody.
Miranda Rights
If you’ve ever watched a law-themed TV show you might be familiar with the Miranda Rights. In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona, that individuals that have been arrested (custodial detention) because they are believed to have committed a crime are given certain rights that must be explained to them prior to any police questioning.
“Miranda Rights” are means to protect a suspect from self-incriminating themselves and is protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Those “Miranda Rights” are as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
  • Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
  • If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

To Note: Miranda rights only need to be read or articulated when an individual has been taken into police custody and is under interrogation or arrest. Miranda rights have been whittled away by subsequent conservative court decisions, splitting hairs. 
Important to Know
There are a number of tactics that can be employed by police officers to obtain confessions from individuals accused of committing crimes. These tactics are often meant to trip-up an individual so if you are wanted for questioning, you should know what to expect and how to protect your legal rights.
If you are wanted for an interview regarding a crime, or have a warrant out for your arrest,  you need to remember these two key elements:
Interrogations are meant to produce confessions

  • The best way to protect yourself – even if you know you are innocent – is to not make a statement without first talking to a criminal defense attorney. Remember that the best way to avoid saying something that might be incriminating is to not say it at all.
  • If an officer wants to question you, tell them that you will not make a statement (verbally nor in writing) without an attorney being present. You might need to repeat this, but it’s best if you stay steadfast with your clear request for an attorney, regardless of whatever tactics they might use to get you to talk. If English is not your first language, ask for an appropriate interpreter so they can’t use the excuse that they don’t understand your request for an attorney to be present.

Additionally, it has been shown that police tactics can often encourage someone to confess to a crime they did not commit. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE OF MINORS!  Often times accused suspects confess to a crime, and are then exonerated by DNA evidence that proves they were not guilty.
Research has been done over the years on why this happens, and proves that often scared juveniles and people with diminished mental capacity are at greater risk for providing false confessions.
Often times these individuals are scared and lured by the tactics in hopes that they can just get to the end of the interrogation and then go home.  In some cases suspects are also falsely promised release if only they confess!  As a result, many interrogations are now recorded on audio and video.
Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney
As you can see, being interrogated by a police officer, even if it appears to be informal can be a potentially incriminating and frightening experience. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you on the best defense and protect you during an interrogation. That is why it is key to not say anything until you have received legal guidance and good sound advice.
Any criminal charge could result in prison time, other serious penalties, and a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. These will diminish your future employment opportunities.
The good news is that there is a defense to every criminal charge or accusation. In the very least, there are mitigation factors that will always lessen the jail time and penalties.
santa rosa criminal lawyer
Contact our office at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 to discuss your case with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at Fiumara & Milligan Law, P.C. today!

Michael A. Fiumara

About Michael A. Fiumara

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