Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Smith Arkansas on the Fifth Amendment


We have all heard it.  Just watching a crime drama show, you hear the cop tell the suspect that he has the right to remain silent and that anything he says or does can be used against him in a court of law.  This brief statement advises an individual of his or her Miranda rights.  A criminal defense attorney in Fort Smith Arkansas can discuss how this right comes into play.  Additionally, a criminal defense attorney in Fort Smith Arkansas can explain how this right may affect your case.  Joseph Self has been handling criminal matters since 1982, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney, and knows this area of the law well.

One of the most common pieces of advice that a criminal defense attorney gives is not to say anything to police without a lawyer present.  Law enforcement officers may believe that a person is guilty from the beginning of the case and use anything that the suspect says to reaffirm this belief.  Therefore, there is often little to gain by talking to police but a lot to lose.  Tempting as it is to try to talk your way out of trouble, in the vast majority of cases, it is better to remain silent until you have a chance to talk to your attorney.  The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects someone from being a witness against himself or herself.  This means that law enforcement cannot force a person to make self-incriminating  statements, and Joseph Self recommends that you do not voluntarily do so without talking to an attorney.

This right applies at the time of arrest.  This is why law enforcement officers are required to recite the Miranda rights.  Additionally, this right applies when a suspect is interrogated.  However, law enforcement officers may not have to inform you of your rights at every interaction.  If your case goes to trial, you cannot be made to testify against yourself.  However, if you do decide to testify, you may be subject to tough questions on the circumstances surrounding the case and any prior criminal history that you have.  It is wise to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney like Joseph Self about the pros and cons of testifying at trial and about your Fifth Amendment rights.