The period immediately following an arrest is an essential time in the course of a criminal case. The defendant and the government each have an interest in prompt investigation. Substantive due process requires that an arrestee be aware of his or her rights – including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney – which serve as vital protections against self-incrimination and against police coercion.
In reality, however, defendants routinely waive their right to remain silent and their right to counsel. Part of the reason for this is that in most state and local jurisdictions, public defenders are not accessible to defendants at the police station. Police frequently take advantage of the misinformation and misunderstandings of rights held by those in their custody. Defendants almost always waive their right to counsel while under arrest because there seems to be no possibility of retaining an attorney.