You have the right to remain silent...If you have watched any television shows or movies where someone was arrested,
you probably have some familiarity with this phrase. This is just the
beginning of the Miranda warning, which must be given by law enforcement
officers when they take a suspect into custody. The full warning includes
information about a suspect's right to legal counsel and warns the
suspect that anything he or she says can be used against him or her in court.
How did the Miranda warning come about, and what impact may it have on
criminal cases? These are answers that we will address here in this blog.
You can also find out about a particular case and
your rights by contacting our firm for a confidential case review with an
Orange County criminal defense lawyer, who will be happy to offer insight based on your unique needs.
First, let's take a brief look at the history of the Miranda warning.
The roots of this issue can be traced back to June 13, 1966, when the
Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case
Miranda v. Arizona finding that suspects must be informed of their specific legal rights
when arrested. The decision was based on a case where the defendant, Ernesto
Miranda, was accused of robbery, kidnapping and rape. Though the details
have never been fully confirmed, Miranda was arrested and interrogated,
at which point he confessed to the crime. He later recanted his confession,
but he was tried and convicted.
Miranda's case was then taken up by the American Civil Liberties Union
and an appeal was filed on the basis that his confession was coerced and
false. The Supreme Court subsequently overturned the conviction and found
that suspects must be informed of their rights prior to interrogation.
Miranda was later retried and convicted in October 1966, but the Supreme
Court's decision regarding arrestees' rights remains in force
to this day.
Today, each state has its own variation of Miranda rights, which must be
read by law enforcement when a suspect is taken into custody. Though the
wording may vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the general
outline is as follows:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used
against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you
cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you. Do you understand
these rights as I have read them to you?
The Miranda warning protects a suspect from self-incrimination, much like
the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. With the decision in
Miranda v. Arizona, it was officially established that suspects must be informed of their
specific rights, as Miranda had claimed that he did not know he had the
right to refuse to answer questions after he was taken into custody for
It is important to remember that you must still answer certain questions
if you are
arrested, like your name, age and address. It is also important to be polite and
cooperative, while still exercising your Miranda rights to the fullest
extent. Remember, even if you believe you are innocent, you may unintentionally
say or do something that only provides law enforcement with information
or evidence that could be used against you later on. Remain silent and
invoke your right to an attorney.
If you have been arrested in the Orange County area, consider involving
a criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman.
We are experienced and fight tirelessly for our clients, both inside and
outside of the criminal courtroom. Call us sooner rather than later and
let us start working to protect your rights to the fullest extent of the law.