Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 at 12:51 pm
Under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you are protected from making self-incriminating statements. That means you do not have to testify against yourself if something you say might implicate you in the crime you are being investigated for.
In 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Miranda v. Arizona, that your Fifth Amendment protection extended to instances when law enforcement officials take you into custody and interrogate you. Before the police begin questioning you, they must read your Miranda rights: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.”
If police arrest and interrogate you, you can invoke your rights and politely refuse to answer their questions. Even if you started answering, you could plead the Fifth at any time. Once you let them know that you will no longer be providing information, they must honor your request and cannot force you to answer their questions.
Inadmissibility of Statements
In Miranda, the court decided that a person cannot voluntarily and knowingly waive their rights if they are not fully aware of them to begin with. If the police failed to read your Miranda rights and moved forward with an interrogation, any statements you provided may not be used as evidence against you in court. However, if you invoke your rights, but continue to answer questions, the responses you give could be presented at your trial.
Right to an Attorney
The Miranda Warning also informs you of your right to legal counsel. During an interrogation, you can let officers know that you will not answer questions until your lawyer is present. They must stop the questioning and wait until your attorney arrives before continuing.
When Police Must Mirandize You
Officers are required to inform you of your rights only after they have taken you into custody. If they have not arrested you, they are not required to let you know you can remain silent. Any answers you provide during a pre-arrest interrogation could be used as evidence against you. However, although police do not need to read your Miranda Rights before making an arrest, you are still protected under the Fifth Amendment, and you can politely decline to answer their questions.
For Effective Legal Defense, Contact the Morris Firm
Our attorney has over 10 years of legal experience, which has been focused almost solely on criminal defense. Having litigated thousands of cases, we have an in-depth understanding of the trial process and the laws that govern your rights. When you hire us, we will ensure that law enforcement has not, or does not, violate your constitutional protections.
We are dedicated to protecting your freedom and future. To speak with our lawyer, call us at (850) 427-6514 or contact us online.
Posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 at 12:50 pm
From sharing our thoughts and everyday life to keeping up with family, friends, and even current events, social media has become a significant part of our daily lives. We use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to post various aspects about ourselves—no matter how personal they may be.
Unfortunately, if you end up getting arrested and charged with a criminal offense, your social media activity can and will be used as evidence against you in criminal court. In fact, most—if not all—police departments consider social media as an invaluable tool in criminal investigations.
For example, if you were arrested for assault and law enforcement encounters several posts which reveal you made threats to the alleged victim and/or bragged about the incident in question, this could be used as evidence to prove you were the aggressor of the physical altercation. If you post photos or videos of yourself drinking while driving a vehicle, or if a friend tags you in a photo or a video, the police can use these posts against you. Even check-ins can pinpoint suspects at the exact location the crime had occurred.
Although you may believe your customized privacy settings prevent third parties from viewing your social media profiles, platforms are now working with law enforcement more and more to crack down on crime, giving them access to user’s social media accounts if they could present a warrant. In addition, criminal investigators can gather your personal information through your contacts, who have more lenient privacy settings.
The following are several social media tips to consider if you have been arrested for a criminal offense:
- Avoid social media – It is wise to refrain from using social media until your case has been resolved. While you may often voice your angst and frustrations on social media, doing so could land you in further legal trouble or complicate your defense.
- Do not delete your accounts – Since your social media activity can be used as evidence against you, some people just delete all their accounts altogether. However, this type of action can be viewed as destroying or attempting to destroy evidence, which can result in additional charges on top of your original offense.
- Do not discuss your case – While it may be tempting to reach out to friends and family through social media accounts, the only person you should be discussing your case with is your attorney. But you should tell your friends to avoid tagging you in any posts until your case is over.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Florida, our Pensacola criminal defense attorney at the Morris Law Firm can help you obtain the most favorable results in your case. We can investigate your case, create a strong defense strategy, and protect your rights and freedom throughout the criminal justice process.
For more information, contact us and schedule a consultation today.