What Are My Miranda Rights and Why Are They Important?
May 31st, 2022
Miranda Rights - 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 for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?
U.S. Supreme Court Established Miranda Rights in 1966
In 1966, the United States Supreme Court decided Miranda v. Arizona and established the requirement that law enforcement officers inform suspects of their right against self-incrimination, the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney.
The landmark decision arose from the arrest of Ernesto Miranda, a laborer who was accused of kidnapping and rape. Miranda was arrested and voluntarily participated in a police lineup. When the lineup was complete, police told Miranda he was positively identified. Miranda was then questioned for more than two hours before confessing to the crime.
At trial, Miranda was found guilty and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. He appealed, claiming that because he was emotionally disturbed and poorly educated, he could not be expected to know he had the right to remain silent and to not incriminate himself.
The Supreme Court agreed and ruled that police were required to inform a suspect of their right to remain silent, that anything they said would be used against them, that they have the right to an attorney, and that they would be provided with a lawyer if he could not afford one.
After the decision, police departments across the country adopted some version of the Miranda rights, which have become a standard part of police procedure and are read to suspects whenever they are arrested.
The Importance of Miranda Rights
The Miranda warning is intended to discourage police from using coercive interrogation techniques. If police violate a suspect’s Miranda rights, anything the suspect says can be excluded from trial and cannot be used to try to secure a conviction.
However, Miranda only applies in specific, limited circumstances. For Miranda to apply, the suspect must be responding to police questioning while in custody.
Limitations of the Miranda Decision
The Miranda requirements only apply when a suspect is in custody and makes statements in response to police questions. Miranda warnings are not required before a suspect is taken into custody, and anything a suspect says before they are arrested can be used against them.
For example, when police are called to a domestic dispute, they often ask questions to understand what is happening. Anything a suspect says to the police before they are placed under arrest can be used against them. Miranda does not apply because the suspect is not in police custody.
Likewise, Miranda only applies to statements made in response to police questioning. Suppose someone was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. While being driven to the police station, the suspect starts talking to the police officer. Anything the suspect says in this situation can be used against them because the statements were made voluntarily and were not in response to police questioning.
Remedies When Police Violate Miranda
Many people mistakenly believe that when a suspect’s Miranda rights are violated, their case will be dismissed. This is incorrect.
When police violate Miranda, anything the suspect says can be excluded from trial and cannot be used to try to secure a conviction. When evidence is excluded, it can make conviction more difficult. This, in turn, can be used to negotiate a favorable plea bargain. In the hands of a skilled defense attorney, having certain incriminating statements excluded from trial may lead to a dismissal of the case.
Placed Under Arrest? Elmen Legal Can Help.
Even though Miranda only applies in very specific situations, a suspect’s Miranda rights represent fundamental principles that are at the heart of our legal system.
If you were placed under arrest and charged with a crime, it is critical that you have an attorney at your side who will explain the charges against you, advise you of the potential consequences of decisions you make, and fight to protect your legal rights.
At Elmen Legal, I defend people who have been accused of committing a crime in and around Ann Arbor and throughout Michigan. I will thoroughly investigate your case, develop your legal defense strategy, and vigorously defend you in court.
Learn more about the cases I accept and read reviews from other people I’ve helped, then contact Elmen Legal or call (734) 707-8915 today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation.
Elmen Legal proudly represents people in Ann Arbor, Saline, Pittsfield Township, Chelsea, or Ypsilanti, in Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Ingham, Livingston, and Oakland Counties.
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