Even though the Constitution of the United States provides for laws against self-incrimination in the Fifth Amendment, and the right to counsel in the sixth amendment, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that these rights were codified into criminal law. In 1964, the Supreme Court, through the case Escobedo v. Illinois, established that individuals were entitled to have a lawyer present during police interrogation. In 1968, Miranda v. Arizona ascertained that criminal suspects must be advised of their right to silence before they are expected to answer any interrogation during an arrest.
These statutes are largely meant to protect criminal suspects from forced confessions or from their volunteering information which will incriminate them. Despite these rights being conveyed in the United States Constitution, and their subsequent clarification by the Supreme Court, many Americans routinely experience breaches to these laws by law enforcement officials. This is why, in Nevada, it is important that a person contact a top criminal lawyer in the event that he or she finds themselves in the position of unexpectedly being a criminal suspect.
There are a number of reasons why the counsel of a top criminal lawyer in Reno can make a significant difference in the way your case is handled in a court of law. If, for example, you are pulled over in your car, for whatever reason, and you find yourself taken into custody, whether you have committed a crime or not, you are still entitled to the right to remain silent. As such, law enforcement officers are required to give suspects the Miranda warning at the moment of custody. At that point, a suspect can either waive their rights and continue answering the officer’s questions, or accept their right to remain silent and force the officer to suspend questioning. This is important because any answers given after a suspect accepts his rights will be deemed inadmissible in a court of law. In addition, any information a suspect voluntarily gives before being taken into custody and given his Miranda rights can be used against him in court.
Similarly, the right to an attorney is a protection that not every citizen knows how to exercise. Although it is easy enough to invoke your right to an attorney, many people are so shocked and perplexed by being taken into custody that simply forget the rights allowed to them by the Constitution and Supreme Court decrees. Most simply, all a suspect has to do is communicate to the arresting officer the words “I want a lawyer,” just as one must verbally convey “I want to remain silent.” By asserting the right to silence and his right to an attorney, a suspect is successfully protecting his right to fair representation when his case is brought to court. However, these simple assertions don’t always protect suspects from overzealous law enforcement officers, so it is always the best idea to confer with a top criminal lawyer in Reno as soon as you have become a suspect in any criminal activity, whether guilty or not.