Houston criminal lawyer John Floyd has published a guide for those interested in the historical evolution and practical application of the Right to Remain Silent.
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona stated that police interrogations of persons in custody have the physical and psychological potential to be coercive. For this reason, the Court held there should be prophylactic measures in place to safeguard against coerced confessions. These measures include warnings to criminal suspects or accused persons that they have 1) the right to remain silent; 2) that any statement they give to law enforcement may be used against them at trial; 3) they have a right to have an attorney present during interrogation; and 4) if they cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to them by the courts.
A common misunderstanding among non-lawyers is when the right to the Miranda warning attaches in an individual case. Miranda applies only to statements obtained after a criminal suspect or accused person is "in custody," meaning, under arrest or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in a significant way. Pre-arrest statements are governed by whether they were voluntarily made. Therefore, statements made in response to police questions, prior to arrest are admissible in court, even if the Miranda warnings were never given.
"It is simple, you never have to speak to the police or answer any of their questions. Even if you have nothing to hide, you should always assert your right to have an attorney present before you make any statements to the police," says Houston criminal defense lawyer John Floyd.
"When a person comes under suspicion for being involved in any criminal activity, they should remain silent at all times and refuse to answer any questions until they confer with an attorney. Never, ever, take the police bait of 'we're just trying to clear this up,' or 'if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to hide.' The police have one objective: to make their case. They are not really concerned about either guilt or innocence or degrees of involvement. All they want is 'probable cause' to arrest. The fastest way to go from suspicion to arrest is to cooperate with the police," say Floyd.
For publications regarding this topic and other issues related to criminal law from a defense perspective visit Mr. Floyd's blog Criminal Jurisdiction.
John Floyd is Board Certified in Criminal Law and has been rated as among the best and brightest attorneys practicing criminal law with his recognition as one of Newsweek's Leading Criminal Defense Attorneys 2012, Houston's Top Lawyers for the People (2008, 2009), Top Lawyers: Criminal Defense (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) and his "Superb" rating, scoring 10/10, from AVVO. He has appeared on national television and radio programs as an expert on criminal law related issues and has been quoted in newspapers and other news outlets throughout the country.