Legal Question in Criminal Law in Alabama

I was brought into an interrogation room, I was sat down told i was not under arrest. The detective began to ask me questions, then read me my miranda rights asked me if I understood my rights,I answered yes but, before i signed anything I asked what I was being charged with, he did not respond, finally told me "just sign and he would explain in a second." I thought in order for a person to make a sound judgement, they were to be informed of the charges first and foremost. Can I have your opinion?

Asked on 7/10/13, 12:56 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

You're entitled to know the charges before you enter a plea in court. That's not what the detective was asking you to do.

Technically, you aren't charged with anything until the prosecutor files a court case against you. When the police questioned you there probably weren't any charges yet, though the detective may have had a pretty good idea what they would be.

The document he asked you to sign was probably a confession. I hope you didn't sign it. A confession is just a statement about what happened. It's about the facts, not the law. The suspect does not have to know what crimes he's accused of when he's asked to sign one. But a suspect who doesn't have that information (or even one who does) shouldn't sign a confession without advice of counsel -- and should stop answering questions as soon as he gets the Miranda warning, if not sooner.

My guess is that you signed the document and kept answering questions. If I'm right about that, you will probably soon regret doing so.

You need a good attorney right away. Until you have one, you need to stop discussing the case with the authorities -- or with anyone else other than attorneys you are meeting with about representing you.

Good luck.

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Answered on 7/10/13, 1:09 pm

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