Michael P. Denea PLC specializes almost exclusively in felony criminal law. We do handle aggravated DUIs and some other matters but always in the misdemeanor context. An aggravated DUI is usually a felony. Just a regular DUI, without an aggravator, would be just a misdemeanor based on the facts of the case, but primarily, we’re dealing with tough laws, tough enforcement and sometimes tough people as well. So the primary focus is on the more serious side of criminal defense, which would include violent crimes, crimes of a sexual nature, crimes involving large sums of money or large sums of restitution for damage to property or people.
What Are The Top Misconceptions About Being Arrested For A Crime?
People have a misunderstanding about where they stand in the process. This is an adversarial system, so more often than not, the statements that you make to a law enforcement officer are going to be ones that could be later used against you. I know that’s an often recited phrase in movies and television, but it does have a very significant meaning. When you’re speaking to an officer who is doing the questioning, you very much are undergoing an inquiry as to whether or not you need to be arrested.
A lot of people will give the police much more information that could possibly hurt them in later criminal proceedings. There are a lot of misunderstandings about where they stand in the case. I think that’s one of the main misconceptions, but I think another misconception that people have is seemingly innocent behavior can sometimes be misconstrued. Another misconception is people’s fundamental misunderstanding of the law, which can also get you in trouble.
There is the misconception about the manner in which you should speak to a police officer or how they should speak to you, as well as misconceptions about the law itself. Nobody has the time to sit around and read criminal statutes like a criminal lawyer all day, so in a lot of ways when you are the subject of a criminal investigation, it’s like a footrace where you start the race tied up in a chair, and your opponent has already bolted off.
What Are Miranda Rights? When Do They Come Into Play In A Criminal Case?
In terms of the facts of the case, Miranda evolved from the March 13, 1963 arrest of Ernesto Miranda. He was arrested in his house and brought to a police station where he was questioned by officers about an ongoing investigation into a kidnapping and a rape. After two hours of interrogation, the police obtained a written confession from Miranda. The written confession was admitted into evidence at trial despite the objection of the defense attorney and the fact that the police officers admitted that they had not advised Miranda of his right to have an attorney present during the interrogation. The jury found Miranda guilty after trial.
On appeal, the Supreme Court of Arizona affirmed that guilty conviction and held that Miranda’s constitutional rights were not violated because he did not affirmatively request an attorney. Even though this is before Miranda Rights, they expected him to specifically request counsel. When this went to the Supreme Court, the question before the court was: does the 5th Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination extend to police interrogation of a suspect? So the Supreme Court did indeed hold that the 5thAmendment’s protection against self-incrimination is available in all settings; therefore the prosecution couldn’t use statements arising from a custodial interrogation of a suspect unless certain procedural safeguards were in place.
So this included proof that the suspect was aware of his right to be silent, that any statement he made could be used against him, that he had the right to have an attorney present, that he had the right to have an attorney appointed to him, and that he could waive those rights if he did so voluntarily. Then at any point if he requested an attorney, there would be no further questioning until the attorney arrived. So then the question becomes: when does the onus switch to the interrogating police officer to unilaterally invoke all those rights?
There’s a lot of case law that deals with this situation, but generally, when you feel that you’ve been physically restricted in some way, whether you are handcuffed, in an interrogation room or have any kind of indication that you’re under arrest, that’s when your right to have the Miranda warnings issued to you comes into play.
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