Miranda Warnings: What are your Miranda Rights?

Miranda Rights

Miranda Warnings: What are your Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights are based upon the United States Supreme Courts decision in Miranda v. Arizona. Miranda rights protect a person’s 5th and 6th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and right to counsel.

What are Your Miranda Rights?

The exact language used by the police when giving Miranda rights is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. At a minimum the Miranda warnings given by the police must advice an individual that he or she:

1)   Has a right to remain silent when questioned,

2)   That anything said will be used against the person in a future prosecution;

3)   Has a right to consult with an attorney prior to answering any questions;

4)   Has a right to have an attorney present during any questioning;

5)   That an attorney would be provided if the person cannot afford an attorney; and

6)   He or she has a right to stop the questioning at anytime and request an attorney.

The police officer must also ask the individual whether they understand their Miranda rights and whether they wish to answer questions without an attorney present.

When Do the Police Have to Warn You About Your Miranda Rights?

Not all police-citizen encounters require a police officer to issue Miranda warnings. For example, Miranda rights are not required during a traffic stop.

Miranda warnings are only required when the police are gathering testimonial evidence during a custodial interrogation, which in a nut-shell it means that the Miranda warnings must be given when the police are questioning an arrested individual in an attempt to gather evidence.

            What is Testimonial Evidence?

Testimonial evidence is communications that make a factual assertion or disclose information. In its most basic form, testimonial evidence includes answers to questions at a police station after being arrested. Miranda rights do not need to be given before a police officer attempts to elicit non-testimonial evidence such as a writing sample or a blood sample.

            What is a Custodial Interrogation?

A custodial interrogation is a police interview that occurs after a person is arrested. Voluntary conversations with the police do not require the police to issue Miranda warnings. Additionally, a volunteered statement that is made without police questioning is not subject to Miranda rights.

How Do You Invoke Your Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights are only invoked when a person makes an unequivocal statement that he or she wishes to remain silent or that he or she wants an attorney. Anything short of an unequivocal statement is insufficient. Simply remaining silent during questioning does not invoke your Miranda rights. Only an actual verbal demand for an attorney or a demand to remain silent will invoke your Miranda rights.

What is the Effect of a Miranda Rights Violation?

A violation of Miranda by the police could result in the exclusionary rule suppressing the statement obtained as a result of the Miranda violation, which would result in the statement being suppressed. However, evidence obtained as a result of a Miranda violation could still be used against the person in a future prosecution. For example, if a person makes a statement to the police telling them the location of a body, the police would be able to use the statement to recover the body. The police could then run forensic testing on the body and use the results of the tests against the person.

Conclusion

Miranda rights protect a person’s 5th and 6th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and a person’s right to counsel. Miranda rights warn an individual during a custodial interrogation that they are not required to provide testimonial evidence against themselves. Miranda rights also guarantee a person a right to have an attorney present with them during the questioning.

If the police have questioned you or the police want you to come in for questioning, know full well that the only reason why the police want to talk to you is to gather evidence. It is imperative that you hire an attorney that is experienced with the Miranda warnings and has the knowledge to guide you during this difficult time. Miranda rights are complicated and most attorneys struggle with the concept and the endless exceptions to the general rule. We know Miranda and we know how to use to gain you an advantage in your case. Contact us today to discuss what we can do.