Speaking to the police, no matter what the circumstances, always involves some level of risk. A police officer's primary concern is upholding the law, and if a person speaking with a police officer says something that the officer believes indicates that the person potentially committed a crime, the officer may take action to detain or question him or her. Before you speak with police in any circumstance, it is important to understand your rights.
At this point in American history, most people have at least a passing understanding of their Miranda rights because of how frequently television and movies portray a police officer arresting a suspect and issuing a Miranda warning. However, may people still do not understand when their Miranda rights apply and when a police officer must read a suspect his or her rights.
When you face criminal charges, your next several choices are suddenly very important to your ongoing freedom. If you react poorly, or more specifically react in a way that makes you appear guilty, you do yourself no favors and may even worsen your chances of beating the allegations.
After you serve time in jail, you may face great difficulty transitioning back into society, especially when it comes to securing a job. Depending on the nature of your criminal conviction, you may have many fewer options for employment, legally speaking. This does not, however, mean that finding work is impossible after incarceration.
There are many ways that a disagreement can lead to a physical altercation, but not all of them are treated equally in the eyes of the law. While the law generally frowns upon acts of violence, it does allow individuals to act in self defense or in the defense of others, as long as the circumstances meet certain standards. Self defense or the defense of others is the most commonly used defense against assault charges of many kinds.
When it comes to defending against criminal charges, the outcomes are not always a total loss or complete dismissal of all charges. In many cases, the best outcome a person facing criminal charges can expect is some sort of plea bargain. A plea bargain is essentially a compromise by both the prosecution and the defense that lessens the charges, the penalties for the charges or both. However, just because a plea bargain is available does not mean that you should always take it. This is precisely why the quality of your representation is so very important.
"The jury, over the centuries, has been an inspired, trusted and effective instrument for resolving factual disputes and determining ultimate questions of guilt or innocence in criminal cases," writes Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority in the recent case of Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado.