Explaining Miranda Rights
You’ve heard the phrase on countless TV shows, and can probably quote it: “you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can be held against you in a court of law.” But there are details about Miranda rights that the average person doesn’t know. Some assume that if the magic words aren’t read to them right away, they can escape punishment, but this isn’t the case. Here is a short guide to Miranda rights and how they can affect criminal charges.
What Are The Miranda Rights?
Miranda rights stem from a very famous Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona. The ruling in that case stated that after a person is arrested and before any questioning started, law enforcement officers must inform you of a number of rights or any statements you make can’t be introduced into evidence at a trial.
- The right to remain silent,
- If you do say something, it can be held against you in court,
- The right to have an attorney present during any questioning, and
- If you can’t afford an attorney, the right to have one appointed for you
Most people know these. As they say, though, the devil in is in the details when it comes to properly abiding by these rights.
Timing and Arrest
The ruling in the Miranda case says that these warnings need to be issued after an arrest, but before any questioning can take place. What if a police officer is asking you questions and you don’t want to answer them? That officer can’t arrest you for refusing to answer his questions. You don’t even have to answer their questions after you are arrested. Most criminal attorneys will tell you to refuse to answer questions after an arrest, at least until you have the opportunity to talk with an attorney in private. Many criminal defendants unknowingly reveal incriminating evidence that is later used against them when they answer questions without consulting an attorney first.
When The Miranda Warnings Are Required
“Questioning” can happen in any number of different places, it doesn’t always take place in a room in a police station. It could be in a holding cell, in a police car, on the street, or at the scene of a crime: the most important factor is if the person is in custody or not. If a law enforcement officer deprives your freedom in any significant way, you are effectively in custody. Then, the officer must read you the Miranda warnings or anything you tell them can’t be introduced as evidence at trial.
Whether or not you are in custody can make a big impact on your case. Sometimes law enforcement officers go out of their way to not arrest someone so that they do not have to given Miranda warnings. They may overemphasize phrases like “you are free to go” to make it clear that you are not in their custody, and then arrest you when they hear the incriminating statement they want. Be careful in these situations.
Seek Legal Help!
If you are arrested or charged with a crime, there can be significant negative consequences. You have the right to an attorney, so make sure you protect yourself.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Charges Today!
Were you arrested or charged with a crime in Pennsylvania or New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen R. Piper have successfully represented clients in Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, Cumberland County and throughout South Jersey, and in the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania. Call 856-333-3586 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.