Welcome to our blog. We are criminal defense lawyers in located in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois. Here we hope that you will find a place to learn about issues facing criminal defendants and criminally accused individuals in Sangamon and the surrounding counties including, Logan, Morgan, Cass, Macon, Montgomery, Menard, and Christian to name a few.
It is our intention to use this blog as a teaching tool for you – our clients – and the family members and friends of our clients, in order to help the average citizen understand the criminal justice system and process. We also hope that this blog will help those accused of crimes in central Illinois to understand and know their rights during the investigation process.
It is fitting that the inspiration for our first blog post is the seminal case of Miranda v. Arizona. Most Americans (at least the ones that have spent any amount of time watching television) have heard the Miranda warnings before: You have the right to remain silent, if you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you at no expense. If you decide to answer questions now, you can stop at anytime and ask for a lawyer before you answer further questioning. And the investigating officer always (or almost always) concludes the recitation of these rights by saying: “knowing and understanding these rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?”
Let’s stop here. Nothing further needs to be said. If you are in custody, the officer has, or should have, read you these rights (maybe not exactly in these words, but words similar), and told you that you do not have to talk to the police. DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. There is no reason for you to give up this basic and fundamental right. If the officer is truly there to “help you” (and they almost always say they are), then that officer shouldn’t have any problem waiting for you to talk to your attorney before you give a statement.
It is a rare case – and by rare I mean that I cannot think of a single example – where a client decides to talk to the police, without talking to a lawyer first, and actually helps himself or his case. On the other hand, I can think of numerous examples (just as I sit here and type these words) of clients who essentially convicted themselves by giving a statement.
Please understand, no matter what promises the investigating officer is making you, the only person who really has the authority to charge a case, not charge a case, try a case, or offer a deal on a case, is the State’s Attorney (also known as the prosecutor). This means that no matter what the officer is saying to you, the State’s Attorney is not bound, owes you nothing, and can (and will) do with your statement as the State’s Attorney sees fit.
Know this as well: the police can lie to you about what they know and don’t know. Maybe your life-long buddy, your cousin, your brother has made a statement and sold you out – but maybe she hasn’t. You don’t know and the investigating officer who is ‘just trying to help you out’ does not have to be honest about it.
In almost all cases, there is nothing to be gained by our clients from speaking to the police without a criminal defense attorney present.
If you, or a loved one, is in custody and being interrogated by the police, the only words you need to say are: “I want my lawyer.” Full stop. Say nothing else.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in central Illinois, we are glad you found this blog. Please feel free to contact us at our office to set up a free consultation regarding your criminal matter.
For more information about us and our law firm, please visit our website.