Almost everyone has heard of the “Miranda Rights”, but the problem is that most people do not understand them. The United States Supreme Court stated in Miranda that: “The prosecution may not use statements, whether defensible or indefensible, originating from questioning started by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise stripped of his freedom of action in any significant way, unless it demonstrates the use of procedural measures effective to secure the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination”. This means that if you are arrested or otherwise “in custody”, the police must advise you of your constitutional rights before questioning you.
The Most Widely Accepted Statements Include:
1. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions.
2. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
3. As we discuss this matter, you have a right to stop answering my questions at any time you desire.
4. You also have a right to a lawyer before speaking to me, to remain silent until you can talk to him/her, and to have him/her present when you’re being questioned.
5. If you want a lawyer but cannot afford one, one will be provided to you without cost.
6. Do you understand each of these rights I have explained to you?
7. Now that I have advised you of your rights, are you willing to answer my questions without an
Other Important Information
If you are arrested and the police do not advise you of your rights, your case will not be dismissed. In addition, if the officer does not advise you of your rights, your answers to his/her questions cannot be used against you. Also, be sure not to make statements or otherwise volunteer information that is not a result of the police asking you questions, THOSE STATEMENTS CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU.
In addition, if you make a statement or answer an officer’s question and you are not “in custody”, THOSE STATEMENTS CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU. In the event you are stopped by the police, you should be polite, but do not respond to questions such as “How much have you had to drink”. Also, if the officer starts asking questions about conduct that may expose you to a criminal charge, ask if you are free to go, but decline to answer the questions without an attorney being present.
*What you say to the police is always important, it can be used against you, and it can give the police an excuse to arrest you, especially if you “bad mouth” the officer.
*You do not have to answer a police officer’s questions, but you must show your drivers license and proof of insurance when stopped in a car.
*It’s not a crime to refuse to answer questions, although refusing to answer can make you look suspicious.
*Be polite and calmly assert your rights. Never make an attempt to resist physically. If you need to reach for your ID or registration, it’s best to move slowly, and tell the officer what you’re doing, as fast movements can trigger a violent response from an officer who may think you’re trying to get a weapon. If police behavior was improper, contest it later in a complaint, or in court, or both. In addition, do not “bad mouth” the officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable.
A Conspiracy in its most basic form, is an agreement between two or more individuals to violate the law. Although rarely used in state criminal proceedings in Arkansas, it is commonly used in federal criminal prosecutions in the Eastern and Western districts of Arkansas.
To convict an individual of Conspiracy, the government must prove that there was an agreement with an illegal purpose. The agreement, or understanding, need not be in express or in formal agreement, or in writing, or cover all the details of how this to be carried out. Nor is it necessary that the members have directly stated between themselves the details or purpose of the conspiracy.
The offender must be aware of the agreement and that he or she knowingly became part of it. You should understand that merely being present at the scene of an event, or merely acting the same way as others rarely associating with others, doesn’t prove the person has joined an agreement or understanding. In addition, a person who has no knowledge of a conspiracy but who happens to act in a away which advances some purpose of one, does not thereby become a member. The person may join an agreement or understanding without knowing all of the details of the agreement or understanding, and without knowing who all the other members are. It’s not necessary that a person agreed to play any particular part in carrying out the agreement or understanding. More specifically, someone may become a member of the conspiracy even if that person agrees to play only a minor part in the conspiracy, or as long as a person has an understanding of the unlawful nature of the plan involuntarily and intensely joins in it.
There are two reason that conspiracy is so commonly used by federal prosecutors:
1) It allows a witness to testify as to what someone else said, as long as the statement was made by a co-conspirator. This includes whether they are charged with the crime or not, if the statement was made during the course of and in progression of the conspiracy. Accordingly, this allows federal prosecutors to use statements made by people involved in the conspiracy against the person charged, regardless of whether the person that gave the statement testifies or not. These statements may be oral or written.
2) It subjects a person convicted of the conspiracy to punishment for all crimes committed in the course of the conspiracy, even if the person convicted didn’t do the specific act. An example of this would be a drug courier who transports 1 kilo of cocaine, but is sentenced based on 10 kilos, because that’s the amount that was transported during the conspiracy.
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