Do you know your Miranda Rights?
It seems like police shows and crime dramas are on every channel these days. It’s not uncommon in America for people to binge watch their favorite episodes of Law and Order: SVU. At some point during the show, a police officer reads someone their Miranda Rights as they are being arrested. As a result of these crime shows, more and more people are becoming aware of their Miranda Rights – or at least more aware of the phrase. However, do we really know what these rights are or what they mean? We’ll walk you through the Miranda Rights just in case you are ever in a situation where you need to know more than what you’ve see on television.
History of Miranda Rights: Miranda vs. Arizona
In the 1966 Miranda vs. Arizona case, after the defendants were arrested they were put in a small interrogation room where they were separated from the outside world with no access to their lawyer. This resulted in the defendants orally admitting or signing statements admitting they were guilty of the alleged crimes before being able to consult with their attorney. All of these statements were admitted in court and the defendants were convicted of the crimes. The case was brought to the Supreme Court where it was determined that a defendant must be told their rights before being questioned by the police.
What are your Miranda Rights?
Everyone has the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and therefore not incriminate yourself. After the Miranda vs. Arizona case, reciting these rights became standard, legal procedure. Your Miranda Rights are a series of statements the police are required to tell you before you are questioned or interrogated for a crime. The rights include:
- You have the right to remain silent.
During police questioning, you can invoke your Fifth Amendment right to not answer the police’s questions.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
From the moment a police officer reads you your rights, anything you say can and most likely will be used against you.
- You have the right to an attorney.
Everyone has the right to hire the attorney of choice to represent them throughout the course of the investigation.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
The state can provide you with an attorney if you are not able to afford one. This means you have the right to have access to legal representation
What happens if you aren’t read your Miranda Rights?
If the police do not read someone their Miranda Rights before questioning them, there could be a number of implications. First, anything that person confesses under interrogation can’t be used against them in court. Anything they say is considered involuntary and therefore inadmissible. Also, if any evidence is uncovered as a result of the confession, it will be thrown out of a court of law.
For example, if someone were to rob a jewelry store and during police questioning, confessed to the crime and gave the location of the stolen gems before he or she was read their Miranda Rights, they could not use the confession in court.
It’s important to know what rights you have when you’re in a situation with the police. Police interrogations are designed to be stressful situations and you would never want to unknowingly incriminate yourself. These incatricies of the legal system can be confusing and you may want to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney DC trusts.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their knowledge about miranda rights and criminal defense.