Most of us have heard of our “Miranda Rights” or “Miranda Warnings.” We may even be able to recite some if not all of them, thanks to our countless hours watching crime shows and courtroom dramas. However, there are a few misconceptions about what your Miranda Rights are and when these warnings are required.
Back in 1963, Ernesto Miranda was arrested and taken into police custody. While in custody, Miranda was interrogated for several hours without an attorney present or being told he had a right to a lawyer. Miranda signed a written confession during the interrogation and was subsequently convicted of rape and kidnapping and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison. Miranda appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966.
In the Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that Miranda’s confession could not be used as evidence in a criminal trial because the police failed to inform Miranda of his right against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment) and his right to an attorney (Sixth Amendment.)
The Supreme Court devised statements the police are required to tell a defendant who is being detained and interrogated, known as “Miranda Rights.” These are as follows:
“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 an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
A defendant must give a clear, affirmative answer after being read their Miranda rights before questioning can begin. Silence is not an acceptable means to waiving this right as the defendant may not understand or speak the English language.
This is where some confusion lies. Police are only required to “Mirandize” a suspect if they intend to interrogate them while in custody. Police can arrest someone without reading them their rights. If the police later decide to question the individual, the Miranda Warning must be given beforehand.
If a suspect indicates that he or she wishes to remain silent at any time before or during questioning, the interrogation must be stopped. If the individual states they want an attorney, the interrogation must cease until the suspect’s attorney is present. If a suspect waives their right to remain silent or have their attorney present, they can change their mind at any time and invoke their rights. At that time, the interrogation in progress must cease immediately.
It is important to note that an individual must still provide police with their name, address, age, and other identifying information. Additionally, the individual may also be searched by police to protect the safety of the officer.
Miranda Rights are critical to your arrest and the outcome of a criminal case. If you feel your rights may have been violated by police, contact our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott Henry today for a free consultation.