An encounter with law enforcement officers may have you listening to Miranda Rights. Although you may be feeling nervous and stressed out about the whole situation, Miami criminal defense lawyer Stroleny recommends you pay attention to what is being said to you since your actions or inactions will end up impacting the way your case develops. That’s why it’s important to know what Miranda Rights signify and where these rights came from.
The Story Behind The Miranda Rights
In 1966, Ernesto Miranda was arrested in Arizona for stealing $8.00 from a bank employee in that state. He was questioned for a couple of hours, during which he also confessed to kidnapping and rape, but he was never advised of his Constitutional rights. Therefore, the Supreme Court ruled that his statements to the police could not be used against him. Since then, police must recite Miranda warnings to anyone before any questioning takes place.
What Are The Five Miranda Warnings?
The Supreme Court ruling states that these points must be communicated to anyone whenever the police conduct an arrest.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Although a defendant has a right to remain silent, there’s also a term known as “pre-Miranda” silence. This is when the person arrested refuses to speak even before they have been read their Miranda rights. To avoid being seen as breaking the law, it’s advisable to state that your attorney has told you not to give a statement without them being present.
Anything You Say Can Be Used Against You in a Court of Law
If you give up your right to remain silent, you risk having your words used against you in court. This is a tricky situation because, in many cases, the only evidence against you is your own confession. Many innocent suspects, intimidated and cowed by the arrest, will speak to the police without realizing that this may be a mistake.
You Have the Right to Have an Attorney Present
As a suspect, you have the right to have legal representation when you’re being interrogated. You must be notified that you have the right to have an attorney and that you have the right to consult with your attorney before answering any questions from the police. If the interrogation starts, you have the right to ask them to stop any questioning until your lawyer arrives.
If You Cannot Afford an Attorney, One Will Be Appointed for You
The police have to make sure that any suspect that is being interrogated has a clear comprehension of their legal rights. They also need to be informed that if they cannot afford to hire an attorney on their own, an attorney can be appointed to them.
If You Decide to Answer Questions Now Without a Lawyer Present, You Have the Right to Stop Answering at Any Time
The purpose of Miranda Rights is to ensure that any suspect is aware of their Constitutional rights. Still, police are allowed to ask questions such as your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number without you having been read your Miranda Rights.
Once a suspect starts answering any of the above questions, they may decide to allow police to continue the interrogation without any lawyer being present. The reasoning behind this decision depends completely on the individual and the situation that lead to their arrest. However, this doesn’t mean that the suspect does not have the right to stop answering the questions, change their mind, and request an attorney. If this has happened to you, your attorney needs to be made aware of the information you have already shared with the police and then decide on the best way to proceed moving forward.
Respecting Your Rights
By law, the officers that are arresting you have to respect your rights to have legal representation and to wait until your attorney arrives and is appraised of the situation and the charges against you. If this is your decision, the officers must immediately cease the questioning and wait until legal counsel arrives. Remember that being arrested can have grave consequences on your life and your future. Pay attention to the Miranda Rights as they’re read to you and decide accordingly.