You’ve seen it in countless films: the suspect, sitting at an interrogation desk, forcefully telling the police that he won’t be saying another word until his lawyer arrives. And while there’s some truth to the notion that a suspect does have a right to have an attorney present (it is among the so-called Miranda rights), there are technicalities that make this right a little more complex than you might think. Peter J. Johnson, a leading criminal lawyer in Michigan, wants you to know exactly what rights you have when the police are interrogating you.
About the Miranda
Police are required to deliver their state’s version of the Miranda warning to all suspects in police custody. You’ve heard the gist of it in movies and television. The part we’re talking about today is the “You have a right to an attorney” part. Essentially, it means that you have a right to have an attorney present during all police interactions and to have an attorney defend you in court proceedings.
However, it is possible for suspects to waive their Miranda rights. If you elect to speak with the police without an attorney present and indicate to the police that this is what you intend to do, you have effectively waived your right to have an attorney present. This is where things get complicated.
According to a 2014 ruling out of the Michigan Supreme Court, People v Tanner, the police are not required to inform you that an attorney is attempting to contact you if you have already waived your Miranda rights. Once you agree to give a statement without an attorney present, the police are under no obligation to suspend actions when and if an attorney shows up. If you do not waive your Miranda rights, the police cannot speak with you unless your attorney is present and statements they obtain without an attorney present may not hold up in court.
Any criminal lawyer in Michigan will advise that you do not waive your Miranda rights. Speaking with an attorney is critical if you want to ensure you are aware of all of the options available to you. If you have questions about Miranda rights or recent court rulings, please contact us for assistance via www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com or 269.982.1100.