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Protecting Your Rights Upon Arrest Page

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

Being arrested can be a very frightening experience, and many people tend to panic and become nervous, even if they are not guilty of anything. After all, you are being forced to put your hands behind your back, and sit in the back of a police car. Oftentimes, police officers are not too gentle when making an arrest, so the experience could be especially traumatic for some individuals. In the midst of being arrested, the arrested individual may not fully understand what his or her rights are, and may not be able to determine if police officers are respecting those rights.

What Are Your Rights When Being Arrested?

Most people have heard of the “Miranda Warning,” a statement that is made by arresting police officers to the arrested individuals, giving them notice that they have particular constitutional rights and that they can refuse to speak or answer the officer’s questions or interrogation following arrest. However, even after hearing the Miranda warning, arrested individuals may be too panicked to actually understand what they are being told. As such, it is imperative that you speak with a highly skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney right away to discuss your criminal charge.

If you have been arrested, if the police officer intends to use what you say as evidence, he or she must read you the Miranda warning, advising you of your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and that anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law. Your right to remain silent is protected for all questions that are asked after being arrested. If you remain silent, then nothing you say can be used against you at trial.

However, it is important to remember that even if you do make an incriminating statement to the police, that statement still may not be admissible against you in court if it turns out that your arrest was unlawful. An experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney can review your case in detail to determine if your arrest was lawful, or if your constitutional rights were violated.

Choosing to remain silent upon being arrested is always a good thing to do regardless of whether or not you are guilty. The less you say, the easier it will be to evaluate your case and develop a solid defense. In other words, DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS TO THE ARRESTING AUTHORITY WITHOUT YOUR LAWYER PRESENT. Officers often tell those arrested that if you just tell them what happened, it will go easier on your or they will let you go. Do not fall into this trap! If you do make any statements, you should be aware of the following:

  • • If the police officer does not intend to use anything you say against you, he or she does not have to read you your Miranda rights.
  • • If the police believe another person or persons are in immediate danger, the police officer may ask you questions without reading you your Miranda rights. For example, if an officer asks you if you are armed, your response may be used against you despite your Miranda rights not being read. Whether or not you are armed may pose immediate danger to others.
  • • Statements that you make while in a frightened state before being read your Miranda rights may be unintentional and the meaning of your statements may be misinterpreted. As a general rule, the police cannot use your unintentional statement or statements against you at trial, however, there are exceptions that allow your statement or statements into court. To determine if an exception may apply to your particular situation, you should consult with a Chicago criminal defense attorney right away. Therefore, remaining completely silent before and after being read your Miranda rights will help to ensure you do not make any incriminating statements.
  • • If you make a statement before the officers has a chance to read you the Miranda warnings, it can be deemed an “excited utterance” and may be used against you in court.
The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

In criminal law, we use the metaphor “fruit of the poisonous tree” to describe how evidence will be suppressed if it was obtained unlawfully. For example, if you were arrested, and the arrest was based on an invalid warrant, anything you may say or do following arrest would be inadmissible in court, and if there is no evidence against you, you cannot be convicted of the charged crime. Further, if you are lawfully arrested, but are not read your Miranda rights, anything you say after being arrested may be inadmissible in court, as you were not informed of your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Any self-incriminating statements you make would be considered the “fruit” coming from the tree that was poisoned by the officer’s failure to read you your Miranda rights.

Your Right to an Attorney

Along with your right to remain silent post-arrest, you have a right to have an attorney present. If you do decide to speak with the police, you should ensure that you have a seasoned Chicago criminal defense attorney standing by your side. If you choose to speak to police during questioning or interrogation without your attorney present, you have waived your Fifth Amendment rights. Therefore, upon being arrested and read your Miranda warnings, remaining silent and waiting to speak with your attorney are the best decisions you can make in a frightening and stressful situation.

Contact Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney David L. Freidberg Today to Schedule Your Free Confidential Consultation

Our constitutional rights are the foundation of our way of life. However, many people are not fully aware of just how powerful our constitutional rights are. If you have been arrested, the police must follow certain procedures that do not violate any of your constitutional rights. If your rights are violated, then any criminal charges against you may be dismissed.

To determine if your constitutional rights have been violated following arrest, you should consult with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. David L. Freidberg is a Chicago-based criminal defense attorney with more than 20 years of experience protecting his clients’ constitutional rights. David L. Freidberg will review each and every fact of your case to determine if your rights were violated. Our office is available 24/7 to provide you with guidance and answer any questions you may have. To schedule a free confidential consultation with Mr. Freidberg, call our office today at (312) 560-7100, or you may contact us via email and we will respond to you as soon as possible.