“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” So begins the Miranda Warning, a notice of rights that police read to suspects being brought into custody and interrogated.
The Miranda Warning turns 50 this year. According to a recent article from Fox 10, the Miranda Warning was created as a result of the case against Ernesto Miranda on kidnapping and rape charges. In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Miranda’s conviction on the basis that police did not inform him of his rights.
Despite the groundbreaking decision, Miranda was ultimately re-convicted. This leads to the question: How much protection do Miranda Rights provide?
What You Need To Know About Your Miranda Rights
Miranda rights essentially cover two key constitutional rights: the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. In other words, the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. However, Miranda Rights are not the bulletproof shield that some people think they are.
First of all, it is important to understand that a police officer’s failure to read you the Miranda Warning does not automatically negate the case against you. While a failure to read you the Miranda Warning may prevent them from using statements you make as evidence against you, they may still act upon the information you provide and use it as the stepping stones to build a case designed to convict you.
Furthermore, the Miranda Warning only needs to be read if you are being taken into police custody or you are going to be interrogated in custody. Police can talk to you and ask you questions prior to taking these actions. They can use any info you provide.
Follow This Rule: Do Not Talk To The Police
Regardless of whether or not you are read your Miranda Rights, the best way to ensure that your words are not taken out of context or twisted against you in any way is to simply not talk to the police. Even if they seem friendly. Even if they say you are not a suspect. Even if they say they are on your side and want to help you. Anything you say can hurt you if you are ultimately charged with a crime, so do not say anything.
Instead, you should contact a lawyer immediately if the police want to talk to you about any criminal offense. At The Bloomston Firm, we offer free consultations and can take immediate action to make certain your rights are truly protected.