Why do you need a lawyer when you get arrested?
The first step when placed under arrest is often a recitation of the arrested individual’s constitutional rights. This generally involves an arresting officer reciting the Miranda. This recitation includes your right to remain silent, the acknowledgement that the government can use anything you say against you and the right to legal representation.
One right you should exercise promptly: the right to hire an attorney.
Should I hire an attorney if arrested? If you are arrested, it is generally best to provide arresting officers with your name, but refrain from answering questions until you have legal representation. An attorney will better ensure your legal rights are protected while under arrest.
The officers are serious when they say they can and will use anything you say against you to build their case. The police may misinterpret your attempt to explain your innocence and used instead to build a case against you.
What can an arresting officer use against the person they arrest in court? The officer’s reach is broad. In addition to evidence gathered at a potential crime scene, within a vehicle or on your person when arrested the officer could potentially use information discussed if you make a phone call while under arrest.
A recent case dug into this issue. It questioned whether or not the prosecution could use information from phone calls made by an inmate in court. Most states have laws that allow officials to monitor and even record these phone calls. In some cases, police can even use the information gathered from these calls to build a case against the accused.
This may seem against what you already know about the workings of the criminal justice system. After all, we have a constitutional right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment. This amendment provides a freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, the only way an officer can circumvent these protections is to get a warrant. However, when it comes to the information shared on phone conversations that occur while an individual is under arrest, the prosecution can successfully argue the inmate has no reasonable expectation of privacy while in jail. As a result, anything said on a phone while under arrest is essentially in the public domain and usable in court.
Ultimately, the court decided the conversation was admissible in court as the accused had no reasonable right to privacy while under arrest.
This is just one legal right your attorney can discuss. Take steps to protect your innocence. Those under arrest are wise to discuss these and other matters about their case with legal counsel.