Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Things every person should know - #1

You know, I think one day I'll create a list of things every person should know... One of the first things on my list involves getting arrested by the police. Now, you may never be arrested. I've never been arrested myself. But the one thing that every American should know if they get arrested is this: SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

There's a reason that the police have to give you a Miranda warning. You have the right to remain silent. Anything that you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Don't say anything except to ask to speak to a lawyer. In fact, that's the only thing you should say. Once you speak to a lawyer, the police and everyone else MUST LEAVE YOU ALONE. They can't talk to you without a lawyer present at all. Once you ask for a lawyer, keep your mouth shut. You can answer the basic questions like your name and address when you're being booked, but otherwise don't talk about the case, regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty. If you're being arrested, something went wrong somewhere and you want to have all your ducks in a row.

See, according to the Supreme Court, the right to remain silent is really only good for a few hours. If you remain silent, or say "I'm remaining silent," the police have to lay off of you for awhile. BUT, if you have not asked for an attorney, the police can come back to you later and start questioning you again. The only way to stop this is to ask for an attorney. Once you ask for an attorney, the attorney must be present for your questioning. However, when you ask for an attorney, STOP TALKING! Don't ask about the case. Don't ask what's going to happen to you. Don't say gesundheit if someone sneezes. Don't ask about ANYTHING else.

The interesting thing about Miranda is that even know most people know about it from tv and know that it's one of your supposed "rights", your Miranda rights are very easily waivable. All you have to do is start talking to the police without your attorney present and you waive it, even after you've requested an attorney or asserted your right to silence.

This may be harsh, but hey, so is the law...

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