Dealing with a drug crime on your record can be challenging. The penalties can be harsh, and the stigma can be tough to shed. A strong defense is crucial to winning your case or lowering your sentence. The more information you can gather about your rights and responsibilities in a drug crime case, the better your chances of success.
To that end, the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC would like to explain your rights, starting with the arrest. We’ll explain what your Miranda rights are, what they mean, and how what you do after they’re said can impact your defense and life from now on. We’ll also touch on how not saying them, or not saying them completely, can be a mistake by law enforcement that your case can utilize.
For a personalized plan specific to your drug crime arrest, trust the 20+ years of criminal defense experience at the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.
Why are There Miranda Rights?
In 1966, a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Miranda v. Arizona fundamentally transformed police interrogation procedures. It stemmed from concerns about the aggressive “third-degree” interrogation techniques. The Court believed these techniques not only damaged the reputation of the police but also alienated prisoners from society and lowered public confidence in the judicial process.
Beyond the aggressive tactics, the Court also recognized subtler forms of interrogation that could occur during arrests. They noted that an interrogation setting could isolate individuals and potentially exploit their vulnerabilities.
In Miranda, The United States Supreme Court introduced the requirement that any suspect, when under arrest, must be informed of certain rights stemming from the 5th and 6th Amendments to the United States Constitution. Basically, they provide both the police and the arrested person with clear guidelines as to how an arrested person is to be informed of those rights. If done incorrectly or not done at all, any statements made to the police, as well as any evidence those statements may lead to, will likely be thrown out of the prosecution’s case.
What do the Miranda Rights Mean?
Miranda rights, often considered the “right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney, including at public expense,” are a set of constitutional protections provided to those taken into police custody. Before any interrogation begins, the police are required to inform you of these rights:
The Right to Remain Silent
You have the right not to answer any questions or make any statements. During an arrest, police will ask you questions while conducting their preliminary investigation. You do not have to answer any of them. While arrested, you can stay absolutely quiet until your attorney arrives. But, if officers do begin your interrogation, you must unambiguously request an attorney in order to prevent the prosecution from using the answers to any of those questions against you at trial. The easiest way is to just tell them, “I want an attorney.”.
The Right to an Attorney
You have the right to consult with an attorney and have that attorney present during the interrogation. An attorney speaks with you privately first and will then advise you on whether or not to answer any questions. Our experienced criminal law attorneys will help you answer each question and tell you when not to answer at all. This makes sure that the police don’t get any unnecessary information that can be used to create a narrative against you.
The Right to a Court-Appointed Attorney
If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you at no cost. This ensures your rights are protected even if you can’t immediately afford the legal fees. Unfortunately, court-appointed attorneys are often burdened with heavy caseloads, so details about their clients’ cases can slip through the cracks. At the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, we see past the charges and prioritize the well-being of each person who needs our help. We’ll focus on every aspect of both your arrest and your case to ensure nothing is missed or forgotten.
Your Waiver of Rights
If you decide to answer any questions or make any statements, you are allowed to do so without an attorney present. However, anything you say during that time can and will be used against you in your drug charge. Any statement you make during an arrest or interrogation can be used as evidence that you committed the drug crime. If law enforcement fails to advise a suspect of their Miranda rights properly, there’s a possibility that any statements made might be excluded from the record.
How Can Miranda Rights Impact a Drug Crime Arrest?
In drug crime cases, evidence can often hinge on statements made by the accused. Even admitting to knowing about the drugs can be one of the only pieces of evidence the prosecution needs to convict you. That’s why the proper delivery of the Miranda rights is so important. Any misstep by the police can lead to a significant advantage for your defense. For instance, if a confession or any crucial information about the drug crime is obtained without the proper Miranda warning, it might be thrown out of court. This could weaken the prosecution’s case and lead to reduced charges or even a dismissal of the entire drug charge.
Steps to Take During Drug Crime Arrest in Colorado
- Stay Calm and Know Your Rights: Avoid confrontations and let the officer do the majority of the talking. Do not make any sudden moves or behave aggressively.
- Remain Silent and Request a Lawyer: Beyond sharing your basic details like name and address, you should remain silent. Politely inform the officer that you want to consult with a lawyer.
- Remember the Details of Your Arrest: Jot down or remember key details like the arresting officer’s name, badge number, and whether your Miranda rights were violated in any way.
- Call the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC: Let our defense attorneys, experienced in Colorado drug laws, answer the interrogation questions for you. The Miranda rights illustrate the importance of watching exactly what you say.
Experienced Drug Crime Attorneys Protecting Your Rights
At the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, our attorneys know the challenges you face when arrested for a drug crime in Colorado. We want to inform you of your rights, from the arrest to everything that comes after. Let our criminal defense team help you answer each question carefully, and watch out for violations of what the Constitution legally grants you.