Miranda Rights - Miranda Warnings - Criminal Law Primer.

This is a Miranda warning card. Most Americans mistakenly believe that a police officer must give them Miranda Rights before any questioning. This is wrong. Miranda warnings must only be given after a suspect is "detained" and is not free to leave, or is under arrest (i.e. in handcuffs). You will be shocked at what the law has interpreted "detained" to mean. In our experience, you are not legally "detained" - thus triggering Miranda rights - unless you are in handcuffs, locked in jail, or have been told you are under arrest. Being confined to the back seat of a police cruiser, even though the doors do not open from the inside, is not enough to be "detained" as you could ask to be let out of the car.

Most people mistakenly answer questions from police officers, who make it a point to say: "you are free to leave at any time." By telling a suspect this statement, no matter if you are locked inside a police car or an interrogation room, you are not considered "detained" since, in theory anyway, you can ask to leave whenever you want

When in Doubt - Remain Silent. ALWAYS!

You have the right to remain silent. Really. Legally you cannot be forced to talk. Usually by the time Miranda warnings are given it is too late. Be aware that once you confess to a crime, you WILL be arrested, you WILL be charged, and everything you say WILL be used against you.

In most situations, any questioning by police officers can be met with providing your name, address, and IID (if you have one), and then politely declining to answer any more questions without a lawyer present. Often, a police officer will try to guilt you into talking, "you don't need a lawyer unless you've done something wrong," or use similar statements to get you to talk:

  • "We can do this the easy way or the hard way." (All they can do is either arrest you or detain you longer).
  • "Tell me what happened and I won't arrest you." (You will be arrested - just not at that moment).
  • "Cooperation always helps." (It helps them not you).
It is little consolation to not be arrested on the spot, but later be charged with a crime the next day or next week based almost entirely on your decision to talk. Confessions and admissions are the number one way to prosecute and convict. A case is much harder for a prosecutor to prove without a confession or admission of guilt.

The worst problem with confessions and making incriminating statements, is that there is usually no tape recording nor unbiased witness to what was said. A jury and a judge will almost always believe a police officer over the accused, as a defendant on trial for an alleged crime presumably has reason to be untruthful.

"In the end it comes down to not what was said, but what the officer thought you said."

Grand Rapids, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney:

We work hard. We are experienced. We get results. We are experienced and ready to help you in the following legal areas in and around Grand Rapids and West Michigan:

  • Expungement of Criminal Offenses. One in four Michigan residents has a misdemeanor conviction. One in six has a felony conviction. Expungement or Setting Aside a Conviction is the process where a person is allowed to ask the court where they were convicted and sentenced to have the conviction removed or expunged. (See our link above on the Menu bar)
  • Criminal Offenses: Whether charged with a misdemeanor, a felony, a minor or a serious criminal offense, you need a lawyer. We are experienced in providing you with skilled representation at all stages of your criminal case. We know the process, the players, and how to work at obtaining the best result possible. We suggest you not talk with the police but instead exercise your Constitutional right to remain silent until after you have spoken with an attorney. Likewise, we strongly suggest that you Never plead guilty without first talking with a criminal defense lawyer. Most often a lesser charge or some other type of plea bargain which can reduce fines, costs, and jail time can be worked out.
  • Drunk driving offenses: The prosecution is tough on drunk driving allegations, and offenders are often cut very little slack. However, effective legal representation can challenge that drunk driving arrest, and the consequences can be minimized.

  • Drug offenses: Whatever the charge, our attorney will explore the details and allegations of that charge. When clients are facing felony and misdemeanor drug charges, there is no substitute for the quality legal services and aggressive representation we provide.
  • Indecent Exposure - Lewd Conduct. Cases often arise from urinating in public or the indecent exposure of the genitals, buttocks, or female breasts. These are serious charges, and can have dramatic effect on your ability to find and maintain employment.
  • Divorce: If you are considering filing for a divorce, you want to know the processes. When you hire Bruce Alan Block, you hire an attorney who will educate you about the complicated divorce process.
  • Family law: Issues involving family are often emotional in nature. Our office has the necessary skills to work with clients during these emotional times and provide the legal representation clients deserve.
  • Personal injury: When you have been injured due to someone else's negligence, you are entitled to compensation.
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