Watch any show about police or criminal trials, and at some point, a suspect will be read his/her Miranda rights. These words are so ingrained and ubiquitous in American culture that the real meaning behind these statements can easily be overlooked. These phrases outline very important rights held by anyone taken into custody and interrogated by law enforcement. A criminal defense attorney will look for violations of these rights as the basis for getting charges dismissed or at least reduced. Everyone in America needs to understand the significance of the Miranda warnings in case police come knocking about a person’s connection with a crime. These rights exist to protect fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
History of Miranda Rights
The origin of Miranda rights derives from a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966, Miranda v. Arizona, where the Court decided that anyone taken into police custody for interrogation must be informed about their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. These protections apply in all criminal cases, and must be communicated to the individual once in police custody, but prior to the start of interrogation, in order to comply with the law.
What Rights Are Protected?
Miranda extends the following rights to suspects in criminal investigations:
● the right to remain silent;
● anything said by the person in custody can and will be used against him/her in court;
● the right to an attorney; and
● the right to have an attorney appointed if the person cannot afford one.
The right to remain silent means the person under interrogation can decline to respond to police questions at any point. Thus, even if a person decides to answer some questions, he/she can later choose to invoke this right and refuse further to answer additional inquiries.
The warning about any statement being used against the individual in court should be taken at face value, with the knowledge that this information will be presented in the most negative way possible to increase chances of a guilty verdict.
The right to an attorney means that once this right is asserted police must stop additional questioning until the attorney is present. Note that the person under interrogation needs to affirmatively assert this right, and not just suggest an attorney may be a good idea. Once this right is invoked, the person under questioning should refrain from talking until the attorney arrives.
While people commonly assume these rights only apply to adults, California law extends these same protections to minors who are wards of the state or juvenile offenders. If police take one of these minors into temporary custody, they must be informed of their rights just like adults.
Miranda and Criminal Cases
If police conduct an interrogation without first notifying the person of his/her Miranda rights, any statements made are considered involuntary, and cannot be used against the person in a criminal case. In addition, any evidence discovered as a result of these involuntary statements will likely be blocked from use in a criminal trial.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you were questioned or arrested for a crime, hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer will work to make sure your rights are protected, and fight for the administration of justice in your case. The Manshoory Law Group, APC, located in Los Angeles, represents clients accused of many different types of crime, and can help you get the best possible result. Attorneys are available 24/7. Contact the office for a free consultation.