A person suspected of a crime is usually in a world of police, prosecutors and courts that he or she does not fully understand. It takes years of experience to understand the written laws and unwritten nuances that unfold in criminal courts every day.
A criminal record can have a major impact on a person’s future. Everything from employment opportunities to student loans to insurance to loss of civil rights can result from a criminal conviction.
Not without consulting an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An innocent person can provide information that police construe as evidence of a crime, a person who committed a minor offense can provide evidence that leads to felony prosecution, and a person who committed a serious offense can unwittingly provide the evidence that leads to his or her conviction. Only an experienced criminal attorney can provide the advice needed to make this crucial decision.
The fact that the police failed to read a suspect his or her Miranda rights does not necessarily mean that the case will be dismissed. Miranda warnings only apply if two things are true:
(1) the person was under arrest or otherwise seized by the police;
(2) the person made a statement in response to questioning by the police.
Unless both of these two factors are present, it is probably irrelevant that the police did not read Miranda. Even if both of these things did happen, however, the remedy is that any statement that might have been made as the result of the custodial interrogation must be suppressed. If the police can prove their case by other evidence, the case will not necessarily be dismissed.
No! This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the law. The Miranda warnings that you have seen read to suspects on TV and in movies are incomplete and potentially misleading. When a person is arrested, the police officer will usually advise that person that he or she has a right to remain silent. What the officer does not tell that person is that if the he or she does remain silent, the prosecution will not be allowed to use that fact against him in the trial. The jury will not know whether the defendant made a statement to the police or not.
There are a number of reasons that a person who believes he or she is actually guilty might want the assistance of an attorney. A person may feel morally guilty while being legally innocent. Many times the police “overcharge” a case, either by improperly bringing multiple charges or charging a more serious offense. The police also may have violated your constitutional rights. The police violation of rights may be more serious than the offense that you are charged with committing. Finally, even if the police are able to prove their case against you, you still may need an experienced lawyer to negotiate a fair sentence on your behalf. There are a practically unlimited number of ways that a sentence can be structured. A person charged with a crime should try to get the best, most fair outcome that they can.
Like most criminal law cases, criminal defense cases are typically handled on an hourly fee arrangement.