Criminal defense attorney Gary Gerson explains Miranda rights
Most criminal defense lawyers will advise that if you’re interrogated by authorities about a particular crime, you should say nothing pertinent and ask only to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Of course, you’ve heard people say “I plead the Fifth,” meaning that they are taking advantage of the part of the Fifth Amendment that gives a person the “right to remain silent.” Many people assert that to “plead the Fifth” is to essentially admit guilt because if you’re innocent, why not just speak the truth? But the fact of the matter is that the Fifth Amendment is put in place to protect the innocent. The Constitution distinctly says that “a witness may have a…fear of prosecution and yet be innocent…” For all intents and purposes, police officers have the right to use anything you say to them against you in court. They can take what you’ve said, regardless of how much you might think it will help your case, and use it against you. They can even take what you say out of context or misinterpret what you mean and use what you say to ultimately have you found guilty. This why everyone who is arrested must be read their Miranda rights. In the case of Miranda v. Arizona in 1966, a man named Ernesto Miranda signed a confession, but the confession was found inadmissible by the Supreme Court because Mr. Miranda was not read his rights. It’s important to understand that a police officer doesn’t need to read you your Miranda rights at the time of the arrest, but they must read you your Miranda rights if they plan on asking you for a confession. Think of it this way: a cop’s job isn’t to help you secure your constitutional rights, or even to ensure you receive a fair trial. They are paid to catch criminals and investigate crimes. And, unfortunately, there are police out there who care more about conviction rates and less about justice. If it seems like you’re being uncooperative by not answering a police officer’s questions, that’s because you are-but that’s your right as an American protected by the Constitution. Too often, I have known people who were erroneously found guilty because they said the wrong thing, or even because they said the right thing the wrong way. Use your rights to your advantage and do not answer any questions until you have first consulted Attorney Gary E. Gerson, one of Pittsburgh’s premiere criminal defense attorneys. Call Attorney Gerson’s office at (412) 281-3380 for a free preliminary consultation. Don’t let overzealous authorities get the best of you. Call The Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson today.