October 24, 2014
“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? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
Many of us know these words from crime shows or detective movies, but what do they actually mean? Your Miranda Rights inform you of your legal rights when being arrested, so it is vital that you understand their meaning.
What Are Miranda Rights?
In the 1966 landmark Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, it was decided that the above script, or one very similar, must be read to a person whenever they are taken into police custody. This is to protect the rights of the prosecuted and to make sure they are fully aware of their Fifth Amendment right.
After a suspect has been arrested, they must verbally confirm that they understand their rights as they have been read. This is to ensure that the prosecuted can understand English, and is aware of their Fifth Amendment rights. If because of a language barrier the accused does not understand their rights, a translator or interpreter must be brought in.
The Right to Remain Silent
The Fifth Amendment declares that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.”
This means that you do not have to answer any questions from police before or after they have arrested you. Additionally, if you are being questioned after your arrest, you are allowed to stop the questioning and refuse to answer any further questions. It is recommended that you have counsel present before you answer any police questions.
However, it is important to remember that while you have the right to silence, you must still identify yourself to a police officer. If an officer asks for your ID, full name, date of birth or address, you must give this information. Even if you are not being arrested, you need to identify yourself to police if they stop you.
If You Are Not Read Your Miranda Rights
If a police officer does not read you your Miranda Rights after you have been arrested, then potentially nothing you say once you are in custody can be counted as evidence. Even if a person confesses to a crime, this may be thrown out as evidence. Also, the legal system has a “fruit of the poisonous tree” rule, which means that any evidence discovered as a direct result of this illegal questioning is inadmissible at trial.
If you have been arrested, take full advantage of your Fifth Amendment rights and do not speak to police until you have contacted the attorneys at the Khonsari Law Group. We will fight earnestly and passionately for your rights. Call today and let KLG defend your case.