Coerced confessions are a danger faced by many criminal defendants that can come back to haunt them in criminal court proceedings for offenses they did not commit. Although federal and state court decisions restricting the way people are questioned by police in the United States have sharply reduced forced confessions by requiring mandatory warnings to suspects upon arrest of their right to remain silent, the issue of these confessions still plays a role in the criminal justice system even today. Unfortunately, some suspects are still subjected to either overt or more subtle forms of intimidation by police, which can lead an innocent person to confess to a crime that person did not actually commit. This is a tragedy for all Americans that must be avoided at all costs. Therefore, if you have been arrested in Columbus, Ohio, we encourage you to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney and not speak with police unless your attorney is present.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Columbus, Ohio and have questions regarding your right to remain silent or any of your other rights, then contact the criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836.
Your Constitutional Right to Remain Silent
Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, you have a right to not be compelled to give testimony against yourself in a criminal proceeding. This is a privilege that applies not only in the courtroom, but also the moment you are arrested by police. Therefore, if you are arrested by police upon suspicion that you have committed a crime you can “take the Fifth” or simply stay silent and refuse to answer any questions a police officer may ask you.
Coerced Confessions and Miranda v. Arizona
Coerced confessions and police misbehavior were issues addressed in 1966 when the United States Supreme Court stepped in to ensure that police remind suspects of a criminal offense of their constitutional right to remain silent when questioned by police. The decision in the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona confirmed that you have the right to remain silent under the United States Constitution when arrested by police. This decision also established an affirmative obligation on the part of police officers who arrest a person to affirmatively inform that person of his or her right to remain silent as well as of his or her right to counsel. Police are also required to inform you that anything you do choose to say to police officers can and will be used against you in court in your criminal proceedings.
What Do the Miranda Warnings Mean?
The practical effect of the Miranda decision was to give teeth to your Fifth Amendment rights. The decision means you are not required to speak with police officers when arrested for a crime. You also have the right to the presence of an attorney when you do speak with police officers. People often feel defensive when questioned by a police officer and want to seem cooperative, so they answer whatever questions they are asked by police. However, you need to keep in mind that by being cooperative and agreeing to speak with police without an attorney present, you are simply making their job-convicting you of a crime you may or may not have committed-easier and prejudicing your own lawyer’s ability to most effectively defend you. Therefore, you should not say anything to police officers without first speaking with your own attorney or without an attorney present.
Why Was Miranda Necessary?
One of the biggest drivers of the Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda was the concern that police were interrogating suspects for hours, often without food and water or any bathroom breaks, until the suspect finally confessed. This was true regardless of whether the suspect had actually committed the crime which police officers were interrogating him or her about, instead suspects often confessed solely to make the interrogation stop. These interrogations could last more than twelve hours and these coerced confessions would then form the basis for the criminal prosecution, and usually conviction, of the person making the confession, even if he or she were innocent of the crime to which he or she has confessed.
Call Luftman, Heck & Associates if You Have Any Questions Regarding Your Rights
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we encourage our clients not to speak to police without the presence of an attorney due to the chances of the client inadvertently saying something that could be harmful to his or her case. Police often will try to make someone feel like there is no need to call an attorney if you are arrested, but the opposite is actually true. You do not know the criminal laws and you have no idea what effect a particular statement could have on your case.
Therefore, it is imperative that you call the experienced Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836 as soon as you are arrested so that we can guide you through the criminal process and reduce the chances of you saying something to police that could come back to haunt you.