Your Miranda Rights

It’s important to know what your Miranda Rights are. Many US citizens are not aware of what their Miranda rights constitute and when these rights are applied. Below, I will be going over what Miranda Rights are defined by, when they apply, and how they came about.

Miranda Rights Started With A US Supreme Court Decision

Miranda RightsMiranda Rights first came to be from the famous 1966 Miranda v. Arizona case. It was here when the US Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement had to provide anyone suspected of a crime with a constitutional warning when they were either being interrogated or when in the custody of the police.

It was ruled that these warnings had to be given prior to any sort of questioning by the police. Without being read these rights, the police would be unable to use any sort of admission of guilt in the court of law.

The Supreme Court ruled that these rights were secured by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

Ernesto Miranda was a man who was accused of both raping and kidnapping an 18-year old woman. During the process, he was brought in for questioning and during it, he confessed to doing the crimes he was accused of. Throughout the trial, his attorney looked to get his coerced confession thrown out and his motion to do so was denied. The United States Supreme Court argued that he has made his statements prior to being told his rights so his confession had to be dismissed.

You Are To Be Advised Of Your Rights Prior To Police Questioning

The suspect is supposed to be advised prior to the police beginning the questioning process. They are supposed to be told that they have the right to remain silent and that anything they say during the questioning can be used against them in the court of law. They are also supposed to be told that they have a right to contact a lawyer and for the lawyer to be present while they are being questioned.

Likewise, the suspect has a right to have a lawyer appointed by the court if they cannot afford to pay for one themselves. Once these warnings have been told to the suspect by the police, the suspect is freely able to give up their rights. They are also free to request legal counsel prior to talking to authorities or remain silent during questioning.

The Miranda warnings are applicable when the police stop a suspect in any way that appears as if they are in custody. Thus, any suspect that has been placed in a cell, been placed in a police vehicle, or who has been placed in handcuffs is typically seen to be in custody for the purposes of the law.

Anyone that is being questioned in either a traffic stop or who is on the street is not seen as being in custody for the purposes of the law.

Interrogation Is At The Core Of Your Miranda Rights

Someone is considered to be interrogated when they are being questioned about a particular event or crime. Likewise, there is a specific doctrine that is considered to be the functional equivalent of an interrogation. Therefore, it is considered an interrogation for the purposes of the law. The police are able to try to get a suspect to respond without specifically or directly asking any questions.

For instance, if someone suspected of a crime is in the backseat of a police vehicle and they are listening to the two officers discuss a victim of a crime’s circumstances, it can lead to the suspect admitting guilt. If this conversation was designed purposefully to get some type of emotional or verbal response from a suspect, it can be determined that the police were functionally interrogating the suspect while they were in the custody of the police.

You Can Waive Your Miranda Rights

To actually waive their own Miranda rights, a suspect must freely and knowingly consent that they are waiving them. The court use various things to determine whether or not a suspect forfeited their rights prior to answering any questions from the police which include their sobriety, IQ, age, and by determining whether or not the police worked to overcome the individual’s will.

A judge will look at the specifics of each case and they will determine whether or not the individual had the ability to waive their rights knowingly and willfully.

When these rights are provided by law enforcement, the ordinary rule states that there is to be no questioning by police once they state and asset their rights. Thus, when a suspect requests the presence of their attorney, from that point on it is deemed unlawful to continue questioning the suspect.

The United States Supreme Court clarified that when a suspect initially waives his/her Miranda rights, they are required to assert these rights explicitly during the process of an interrogation if a suspect requests for the interrogation to stop.

To Be “In Custody” Can Have Many Meanings

It is not actually necessary to be in handcuffs in order to be considered lawfully in custody. Nor is it required to be physically in the back of a police vehicle or to be in a police station. You can also be lawfully considered in custody when your freedom of movement is restricted by the authorities. As soon as you don’t feel as if you are free to leave, you will be considered to be in custody for the purposes of the law which is when your Miranda rights become applicable.

Silence Does Not Invoke Your Right To Remain Silent

Despite remaining silent for a long period of time, it’s not enough to invoke your right to remain silent. Instead, you must clearly and explicitly tell the officer who is trying to interrogate you that you are exercising your right to remain silent. You can explicitly say this in a variety of ways. For instance, you can say “I won’t answer these questions” or even “I wish to remain silent.”

The constitution allows any individual to invoke their right to remain silent when they are being questioned by authorities. The Miranda Rights are warnings given to a subject who is suspected of a crime and it is to inform them that they have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney and that anything they say or do can be used against them.

You Need An Attorney For Full Protection Under The Law

If you ever have an encounter with a police officer, you should look to cooperate but you shouldn’t say anything that can be used against you. If you get arrested and placed into custody for a crime, never make any statement and invoke your right to remain silent.

Likewise, you want to request professional legal counsel if you are the suspect in any crime.

You should speak with an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Being accused of a crime can have extremely serious consequences. Don’t  gamble with your future – make that first call to The Kohn Law Firm for quality and determined legal representation that could same you from a very uncertain future.