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Miranda Rights and Juveniles: An Overview

juvenile justice in the united states

Most people are familiar with the term “Miranda rights.” If you’ve ever watched a crime drama on television, it’s likely that you’ve heard this term. While it’s one thing to see a fictional scenario in which an actor reads the Miranda warning to another person who is playing a suspect, there’s a good chance that you might not understand the extent and limitations of those rights. Understanding the value of these rights is especially important for juveniles, who might be easily confused and intimidated by an arresting officer.

The Details of You Miranda Rights

It’s the law—the law enforcement must read your Miranda rights at the time of the arrest. These rights include:

  • The right to remain silent. They should also tell you that anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. For this reason, it’s best to wait until you have a lawyer present before speaking.
  • The right to an attorney. If you aren’t able to afford an attorney, the court will provide one for you.

Once the officer reads these rights to you, they will ask if you understand what they have said. That is an important piece—you must acknowledge that you understand your Miranda rights. If you do not understand them, you can ask the officer for more information—or, better yet, ask for an attorney to represent you.

Implications for Juveniles

Studies show that juveniles are at a high risk of waiving their Miranda rights when faced with criminal charges. In fact, one report indicates that as many as 90 percent of juveniles opt to waive their Miranda rights. This is an alarming statistic and could be due to several factors:

  • They are intimidated by police officers and feel like it would be dangerous not to waive their Miranda rights.
  • They trust that a police officer will do them no harm and will protect them.
  • They don’t understand the implications of giving a statement without a lawyer or guardian in the room.
  • They feel they are innocent and have nothing to lose by providing a statement.

When the courts in Florida are reviewing a juvenile case, before the confession can be admissible, they will look to certain factors regarding the confession, including:

  • How the police presented the Miranda rights—if they used any confusion tactics when they read the rights
  • If there was a parent, guardian, or lawyer present when the rights were read
  • The location that the confession occurred in
  • If the juvenile was encouraged to sign a written waiver before the confession

An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts surrounding a particular confession and determine whether there are any Miranda-based legal challenges available. For this reason, anyone facing a criminal charge after a confession should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. In some cases, it may be possible to have the confession thrown out.

Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

A criminal conviction can have a significant impact on a person future, and juveniles accused of crimes should fully protect their rights. If you or your child faces a criminal charge, the experienced attorneys at Khonsari Law Group are here to help. For a free consultation, call our office today at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online.


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