Understanding Your Rights
It is important to remember that every U.S. citizen has rights granted by the Constitution when it comes to an arrest. Known as your Miranda rights, or the Miranda warning, anyone who has seen a movie or show dealing with the criminal justice system will have already heard these basic tenants.
The Miranda warning includes:
- The right to remain silent
- Anything you say can and will be later used against you in court
- You have the right to retain a lawyer
Criminal charges should be addressed at once to protect yourself from self-incrimination. It is therefore important that you exercise your right to remain silent and politely decline to answer police questions until your attorney is present. It is also important that you comply with police requests, even if you do not make any statements regarding your circumstances. Do not fight back, argue, or do anything that may jeopardize your freedom or add additional penalties to your potential sentence. Instead, remain calm and quiet until you get in touch with your lawyer.