Your Right to Silence and State v. Pearson in Jacksonville Crimes

You are pulled over by police. Officers approach your vehicle not as if you’ve just run a stop sign, but possible with guns drawn or with an aggressive attitude as if you’ve done something very wrong.

They drag you out of the vehicle and start patting you down while looking through your car. You likely feel the itch to explain yourself, prove you didn’t do what they’re accusing you of doing. Every child has dealt with this scenario, but it’s a different ballgame as an adult.When police are involved, you shouldn’t say anything, because it can be used against you. Every American has the right to remain silent, a very valuable right that many people take for granted or don’t realize they have. Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers have seen countless defendants have a shot at beating charges only to have their fate sealed because they gave a statement to police.

This is especially critical in cases of burglary, gun crimes or murder in Jacksonville. In situations where police are working tirelessly to figure out who is the culprit, they tend to lean on suspects to try to get a confession.

Officers have one goal when it comes to a suspect being in custody and that is to get a confession. They rarely bring in someone who they don’t believe committed the crime. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time.

So, officers use the years of training and experience they have to try to scare a person into confessing or admitting enough that they can be charged with a crime. Anything to keep them in custody.

A case out of Iowa highlights just how important keeping quiet is when you’re charged with a crime — and that applies to any time before the case is resolved.

In State v. Pearson, a 17-year-old was charged with robbing and beating an elderly man. After he was arrested, the teen smartly refused to waive his Miranda Rights and give a statement to police.

Miranda Rights are the right to remain silent. It’s what most people are used to hearing on police TV shows when a person is arrested.

But the teen made a horrible decision when he told his social worker the next day that he had committed the crime, even though he wasn’t with his attorney. His social worker, not having a requirement to keep the conversation quiet, told authorities and she was allowed to testify after a motion to suppress was denied.

The teen was convicted of first-degree burglary, willful injury and going armed with intent. On appeal, the conviction was reversed on the going armed with intent, but otherwise the charges were upheld. The Supreme Court upheld the verdict, ruling that the interview was not a custodial interrogation and that the confession was voluntary.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

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