The right to remain silent and the right to have a lawyer represent you are two rights every arrested person has. These are the Miranda Rights, which the police are required to read to every arrestee.
The Miranda Rights are named after Ernesto Miranda, who was arrested in the 1960s and accused of kidnapping, rape, and robbery. During his trial, it was revealed that the police used intense and intimidating interrogation methods to lead him to confess. The court found this unjust and unfair, so his conviction was overturned. After additional evidence and eyewitnesses, he was eventually found guilty once again.
Miranda’s case, along with another in the 1960s, Escobedo vs. Illinois, brought about the Miranda Rights. The defendants in both cases were unaware of their full rights: the right to remain silent until their lawyer was present, and the right to have a lawyer during interrogation.
If a defendant is unaware of these rights, then they are more likely to offer a confession, whether or not they are truly guilty of the crime they are being accused of. In addition, without a lawyer, the police may use intimidating interrogation methods in order to force a confession. The suspect would give in, for they have no lawyer present to help fight back and protect them.
It is the suspect’s best interest to have a lawyer. If they can afford a private attorney who can specialize in the defendant’s case, they should go with that option. A private attorney will have more time to spend on the defendant’s case. In return however, they can be costly to afford. If the defendant cannot afford a private attorney, the court will appoint one to them. Court-appointed lawyers are neither ill-prepared nor unqualified, but they do tend to have more cases and clients to take care of than a private attorney. Thus, they must split attention and efforts across their multiple clients.