We have all seen the classic Law and Order arrest: You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law; you have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you. These are known as your “Miranda Rights” or “Miranda Warnings,” which must be conveyed to you when you are in police custody and before your interrogation by law enforcement. In their current form, they arise from an old United States Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona, but they are actually based on the rights afforded to you by the United States Constitution, including both your Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to an attorney.

Invoking Your Right to Counsel During Interrogation

The rights articulated in Miranda v. Arizona generally arise from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which grants you the following protections:

  • You can only be charged with a felony offense upon indictment of a grand jury.
  • You may not be tried twice for the same offense;
  • You have the right to remain silent and not be a witness against yourself.
  • You must be given due process of law.
  • You must be compensated if private property is taken for public use.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has found inherent in the Fifth Amendment your right to have an attorney present during police questioning to protect your right against self-incrimination and ensure due process of law. Accordingly, if you at any time before, after, or during your interrogation clearly invoke your right to an attorney (that is, “I want an attorney present”) then the police must immediately stop questioning you and cannot reinitiate questioning until an attorney is present with you. Accordingly, simply invoking your right, even if you have not discussed the matter with an attorney, can protect you from self-incrimination during police interrogation.

The Sixth Amendment Right to an Attorney

Your right to request an attorney during the investigative phases of a criminal prosecution arises from the Fifth Amendment, but the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your right to have an attorney with you during all important phases of the prosecution. Accordingly, if you are eventually charged with a criminal offense, you should always invoke your Sixth Amendment right to an attorney so that you are protected during all court appearances and phases of the proceeding against you.

Contact Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Zeiger

If you or a loved one are under an investigation in Philadelphia, you should always invoke your right to an attorney immediately. Contact criminal defense attorney Brian Zeiger as soon as possible to discuss your options. He can review the specific facts of your case and guide you through the criminal justice process. Contact him today at (215) 546-0340 or online for a confidential, no-risk consultation.

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