It says it in the Miranda Warning: you have the right to remain silent and you have the right to an attorney. This warning is a staple in police shows on television, but it is also something that is said in real life to inform a suspect or individual being arrested of their rights. If you are being arrested, you do not have to speak to the officers and you can request counsel. Even if you cannot afford such representation, you have the right to legal counsel and the courts will provide you with such counsel. The criminal justice system, however, can be complex, and understanding how your rights work and how to invoke those rights is not always as clear.
Invoking Your Right to an Attorney
Police will often ask if you will waive your right to counsel and speak with them – telling you your chances are better if you just settle the matter. You may feel that if you want to prove your innocence, you shouldn’t ask for an attorney. This is not the case.
It is imperative that you always have an attorney present any time you are being questioned by the police. This is even truer if you are innocent. Attorneys know the legal system and know how to handle police interrogations. Your attorney can inform you of every step you will face in the arrest and arraignment process and they will also ensure that you do not incriminate yourself accidentally.
Even if you have waived your right to an attorney earlier on in the conversation, you can invoke your right at any time. You can tell the questioner that you will not answer any more questions until counsel is present – and you will need to inform them that you wish to contact an attorney.
What if You Cannot Afford an Attorney?
You do not have to be of high financial means to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one or do not have one, a court-appointed attorney will be provided to you for counsel. This individual may not arrive as quickly as a private attorney and sometimes it can take as many as 24 hours to meet with one.
What an Attorney Does for You
In a criminal case, your attorney works as your advocate. They are there to protect you from the start all the way until the end. They work on your behalf and look out for your best interests – no matter what. Your attorney will explain to you what you are being charged with, potential penalties you could face and how the court process will pan out based on the type of case. Your attorney will be present during questioning and ensure your civil rights are not violated.
If you go to trial, your attorney will work to negotiate an ideal plea bargain or argue your case in court – proving your innocence.
Do Not Underestimate the Power of an Attorney – Contact One Now
If you have been arrested or you are being questioned by the police, contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney right away. An experienced attorney advocating on your behalf is critical. Call the Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, P.A. today at 904-356-8618 to schedule a consultation or ask a question online.