29 Jul What Are Miranda Rights?
What Are Miranda Rights?
As human beings and citizens of the United States, we are entitled to a good number of rights that guide different aspects of life and law. The Miranda Rights are one of such and they are ingrained in the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.
The Miranda warning is usually given by the police to suspects in their custody. It consists of the Miranda rights which basically includes their right to silence and their right to an attorney.
This warning is usually issued in order to preserve the integrity and admissibility of any statements made by the suspects during interrogation. If this warning is not issued, any statements or admission of guilt may not be inadmissible in the court of law. Here is an overview of what Miranda rights are, where they originate from, how they work and what to do if you weren’t informed of your rights.
Origin Of Miranda Rights
The name “Miranda Rights” originated from a milestone 1966 U.S Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona. Ernesto Miranda was arrested for stealing and in connection with kidnapping and rape.
After being questioned by the police for two hours, Miranda confessed to all of the crimes and signed a statement allegedly “with the full knowledge of legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me.”
But he had no idea what those rights were. So, the Supreme Court decided that his confession is unfit to be used as evidence because the police did not inform him of his rights.
And though there is no evidence to suggest that the police interrogated him with harsh measures, the Court reiterated that all confessions must be “truly the product of free choice.” Since then, the police are required to recite the Miranda warning to suspects before questioning commences.
This is the reason why we hear cops on TV and in real life say “you have the right to remain silent…” The difference between Miranda rights and Miranda warnings is that Miranda rights are the rights you have as a citizen of the United States. A Miranda warning on the other hand is when a police officer or a law enforcement official informs you of those rights.
Miranda Warning Explained
The standard Miranda warning includes the following: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during interrogation. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”
It is possible for each state to make up its own rules and add to the standard Miranda warnings. But, according to the Supreme Court, it cannot detract from these four points which must be expressed clearly.
- You Have The Right To Remain Silent: Silence is not one of the things that can be used against a defendant in a court of law. However, “pre-Miranda” silence which occurs before a suspect has been read their Miranda rights can be seen as unusual and suspicious.
- Anything You Say Can Be Used Against You In a Court Of Law: All suspects have the right to remain silent but if you decide to give up that right, you should know that whatever you say will be used against you in court. It is advisable for you provide identification as asked and to stay silent so that you don’t say anything that may make you look guilty.
- You have The Right To An Attorney: This means you have the right to legal counsel during interrogation. A suspect has the right to be clearly informed of this option. Even if the police have already started interrogations, they must stop if the suspect decides they want an attorney present.
- If You Cannot Afford An Attorney, One Will Be Provided For You: In some cases, the suspect may be unable to afford an attorney, they have the right to know that one can be appointed for them at no personal cost. Whether or not the suspect can afford it, they have the right to an attorney. But it isn’t automatically granted, the suspect has to speak up and unequivocally declare that they want an attorney. If the person is not sure, the court may rule this indecisiveness as not invoking their rights.
What Happens If You Are Not Read Your Miranda Rights?
The Miranda rights only apply to interrogations under police custody. This means that it only happens when the police have arrested or detained the person. It also means they do not have to recite the Miranda warnings each time they have to talk to or question somebody.
If the police are just asking you questions as a witness to an incident, they do not need to recite the Miranda warning to you. But if you say something that you shouldn’t have known except you were involved in the crime, you can be arrested, and then the Miranda warning is recited to you.
If you made a voluntary implicating statement after arrest but before questioning and the Miranda rights were recited to you, your statement is admissible in a court of law. But if questioning has begun and your rights were not recited, your statements cannot be used in court.
Although, if the police refused to recite your rights to you, it doesn’t mean that all charges would be dropped. It just means that the prosecution cannot use the statements to prove your guilt. The statements however can be used to contradict any testimony you give at trial.
How To Invoke Or Waive Your Miranda Rights
To invoke your Miranda rights, you have to say it. Even when you are being told you have the right to remain silent, you need to say something to let the police know you are choosing to stay silent.
If you are choosing to have your attorney present before you speak, you need to say you will not speak until you have an attorney present. Just remaining quiet during questioning is not enough to invoke your Miranda rights or make the interrogation stop.
You can waive your Miranda rights if you answer questions after your Miranda rights have been read to you. The courts will determine that you were aware of your rights and you intentionally chose to waive them.
You should know that invoking your Miranda rights is not a one-time deal. Even if you have started to answer some questions, you can decide to stop answering and invoke your Miranda rights. Immediately you decide that you want an attorney, the interrogation must end.
Speak To An Attorney Today
If you or a loved one’s Miranda Rights have been violated, this may adversely affect the outcome of your case. This is why it is crucial to always seek the counsel of a qualified attorney who specializes in criminal defense.
At Sara Jones Law P.A, you will not only be dealing with an experienced criminal defense attorney. But with one who has a track record of producing positive outcomes in criminal defense cases. If you believe you have a case or you need solid legal representation, reach out to us at Sara Jones Law, there will be an assessment of your case and the best course of action determined.