You have likely heard them on a television show or in movies and are aware that police officers must read you your Miranda rights when placing you under arrest, but not many of us understand exactly what they mean, or when these rights apply. It is crucial for every United States citizen to know their Miranda rights. A lack of understanding can make it easy for law enforcement officers to trample over your rights without you even being aware.
What Are Miranda Rights?
These rights came about following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, which led to the creation of the Miranda warning and the following rights:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law
- You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have lawyer present during interrogations
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you
- You can invoke your right to be silent before or during an investigation
- You can invoke your right to have an attorney present and, until your attorney is present, the interrogation must cease
Many states have their own variations of the Miranda requirements, which their law enforcements officers must use, so there are occasional differences in language depending on the location. In addition to reading these rights to arrested suspects, it is crucial for police to ask if they understand the rights read to them. A suspect must affirmatively respond that he or she understands these rights. Silence will not be interpreted as an acknowledgement of a Miranda warning.
When Miranda Warnings Do Not Apply
Miranda warnings are not applicable in every situation. There are specifically two basic prerequisites for situations in which law enforcement officials must issue a Miranda warning, which are:
- If the police have a suspect in custody
- If the suspect is under interrogation
Why does this matter? If you are not formally in police custody, or under interrogation, the police do not have issue a Miranda warning or read you your rights. Therefore, anything you say to the police in this informal setting can be used as evidence against you.
What Happens If Police fail to Provide a Miranda Warning?
If the police do not provide a Miranda warning or read you your rights, nothing you say during an interrogation can be used against you. Any evidence derived from this interrogation will also be inadmissible in court. For example, if you are not made aware of your Miranda rights and the police proceed to question you, which leads them to a murder weapon, their discovery of the weapon would be a result of this improper questioning and will be deemed inadmissible. Any other statements made during the interrogation would also be inadmissible.
If, after you have been provided a Miranda warning and read your rights, you voluntarily disclose information to a police officer, this can be used against you as evidence. People often make the mistake of allowing police to bait them into making statements they later regret, or blurt things in the heat of the moment. If you are arrested as a suspect in a crime, it is important to remain polite and cooperative, but stay silent until you have an attorney present with whom you can consult and speak to.
Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer
There are few things as distressing as facing criminal charges, particularly if you have never faced anything like this before. The legal system can be intimidating and difficult to navigate if you lack familiarity and knowledge of it. At The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq., Attorney Thomasian has a proven track record of success and has represented numerous individuals and obtained countless victories. No matter how minor or serious your case might be, you can be confident that he has the resources and legal insight necessary to protect your rights, inside and outside of court.
We also understand that questions and emergencies can arise at any moment, which is why Attorney Thomasian makes himself available to those he represents 24/7. He will do everything within his power to help you obtain a positive case result, so you can move forward with your life. Instead of risking your future, choose a lawyer you can trust to serve as your fierce legal advocate.
Call The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq. today at (401) 312-4385 to schedule your free consultation. You cannot afford to plead guilty.