Police talking to witness

This is the next post in a series of articles discussing defending against assault and battery charges in Peoria, Illinois. The previous post focused on when it may be possible to exclude eyewitness identifications obtained through overly suggestive police practices. It also emphasized the importance of retaining a lawyer with a background in criminal defense to represent your interests. This article will focus on common issues that arise in assault and battery cases relating to violations of an accused’s Miranda rights. Knowledgeable counsel can help you identify possible violations and whether you have a potential defense to charges of assault and battery. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a Peoria defense attorney.

As previously discussed, the police are required to follow certain rules when soliciting an eyewitness identification. Those rules provide protections to those accused of criminal activity. An additional set of rules apply to police behavior when questioning a suspect. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution provides that anyone in police custody be notified of their right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present while being questioned. These rights are commonly known as Miranda rights. Miranda rights apply when a person is in custody, meaning the moment in time a reasonable person in the same situation would not feel free to leave. It is important to note that this point often occurs before a person is arrested. If the police place a suspect in the back of the police car with the doors closed, for example, that person would likely be considered to be in police custody. Statements given to the police after being in police custody and prior to being given one’s Miranda warnings, may be excluded from evidence. On the other hand, if a suspect makes incriminating statements to the police after receiving his Miranda warnings, those statements may be used against the suspect in court.

In an assault and battery situation, the police may respond to the scene to investigate. One can imagine a circumstance in which a suspect willingly speaks to the police and makes a statement that leads to his arrest. It is not uncommon for the police escalate this type of situation from simply questioning a suspect to making an arrest, neglecting to the Miranda warnings in the interim. In that event, defense counsel may elect to file a motion to exclude the statements made by the defendant as they were given in violation of his Miranda rights. If the police have no other evidence against the defendant demonstrating that he committed the crime in question, then a successful motion may lead to the complete dismissal of the charges. In each case, the outcome will be dependent upon the specific facts of the situation.

If you have been charged with assault and battery, it is important to retain a defense attorney to represent your interests. My firm is experienced in criminal law matters and dedicated to providing the highest level of service to our clients. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. My office also represents clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. We also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.