Almost everyone who has a TV and a vague understanding of how our legal system works has heard of Miranda Rights, even if the understanding might be misled. Most Americans have at one time or another heard the words, "You have the right to remain silent," either from TV shows or other forms of media. Cop dramas almost never state the full Miranda Rights and most people do not fully understand when these warnings are implemented or why. Because of this, there is a misconception that if you are arrested and an officer does not recite the Miranda warnings, you can use that as an argument to get your case dismissed. This is far from true. Our Orange County criminal defense attorney explains what you need to know about your Miranda Rights and how they are really implemented in the legal system.
What Exactly Are Miranda Rights?
In 1966, numerous cases involving interrogations resulted in admissions and written statements because the defendants did not know about their rights during the interrogation process. The Supreme Court ruled that collecting this self-incriminating evidence while the suspect was unaware of his or her rights was unlawful. The Miranda warnings are a serious of statements that law enforcement officers use in order to remind suspects of these rights.
The Miranda Rights state that:
- 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 an attorney
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you
- You can invoke your right to remain silent during an interrogation
- If you invoke your right to remain silent or your right to an attorney, the interrogation must stop or stop until the attorney is present
These warning are issued in two specific situations: when the suspect is in police custody and when the suspect is under interrogation. Any other time, the police do not have to issue these warnings.
Reality vs. Myth
Just because an officer does not read you the Miranda warnings does not mean you get a "get out of jail free" pass. In actuality, it means that the police simply cannot use anything you say as evidence against you in court. Without your rights being recited, anything you say that is self-incriminating cannot be used against you. Furthermore, anything that you say that leads to further evidence also cannot be used in court. Once the rights have been read and you have verbally accepted them (silence does not count as a confirmation), then what you say may be used in court.
Invoking Your Rights
It is imperative that if you are arrested you take full advantage of your rights. Do not answer questions and request an attorney. Because anything you say can be used against you, it is imperative to say nothing, even if you think it is harmless. Our criminal defense firm can assist you through your arrest and ensure that you are using your rights to protect yourself.
Contact The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman today and invoke your right to an attorney.