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Blogs from March, 2022

police making an arrest, suspect fighting it

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.”

Purpose of the Miranda Warning

In 1966, a man named Ernesto Miranda was accused of numerous serious criminal offenses. After an intense and lengthy police investigation, he confessed to all crimes. Later on, however, it was successfully argued that he only confessed due to the intensity of the police interrogation methods. Additionally, he was not informed of his right to remain silent and have legal counsel present during the interrogation. In other words, had he been told these rights, he would not have confessed.

This experience serves as one of the main reasons why the Miranda Warning became a requirement for law enforcement nationwide.

The Miranda warning notifies defendants of the protections of:

  • The Fifth Amendment: protection from self-incrimination
  • The Sixth Amendment: the right to legal counsel

Miranda rights themselves are:

  • The right to remain silent,
  • The acknowledgment that anything the suspect says can be used against them during a trial,
  • The right to an attorney, and
  • The right to have an attorney (public defender) assigned to you if you cannot afford private legal counsel

The Timing of the Miranda Warning

There tends to be a bit of confusion about when the police are required to inform suspects of their Miranda rights. The warning is only required when a suspect is under arrest and about to be questioned. Therefore, police are not required to inform you of your rights pre-arrest, like at a DUI stop. Anything said prior to the Miranda warning is also potential evidence and can be used during the case proceedings, even though the defendant wasn’t Mirandized at that time.

Here’s an important note: you can use your Miranda rights at any time. Just because the police have not informed you of your right to remain silent does not mean you don’t have it. You have the right to remain silent at any time during interactions with the police. If you are going to invoke this right, make sure you explicitly say so. Not explicitly stating that you are using your right to remain silent may allow the prosecution to use your silence against you in court. However, by saying you are invoking your rights, they cannot use it against you as a show of guilt.

If You Weren’t Read Your Rights

If you were not read your Miranda rights, this could be extremely beneficial in helping your case be dismissed.

Without being aware of your rights, you may give more information than you otherwise would have. If the police did not inform you of your rights and your defense team proves it, then whatever information you gave them during the interrogation cannot be used as evidence against you because it was illegally obtained. Your case may not be automatically dismissed, though. If the police have enough evidence to move forward without your verbal statements, they can continue. However, if your confession or other verbal information was the solid basis of their case against you, they will be unable to continue with insufficient evidence.

When you begin speaking with your defense attorney, make sure you alert them of the fact that you were not read your rights.

Orange County Criminal Defense

If you or your loved one has recently been arrested and charged with a crime, contact Law Offices of Randy Collins. We have experience handling a wide variety of case types, everything from traffic violations to murder. Our team is passionate about protecting the rights and freedoms of our clients; call us today at (844) 285-9559 to learn more about how we can help you.