In order for incriminating evidence to be admissible at trial, the police must provide a suspect with the Miranda warnings prior to obtaining any evidence. In 1966, the Supreme Court found that police officers need to do this in order to safeguard a person’s right not to self incriminate.
- The Right to Remain Silent – You have the right not to answer any questions from the police to avoid incriminating yourself. It is a Constitutional right that only works when you use it, however. Some people are afraid that staying silent will make them look guilty. While the police can use visual observations in court, they can’t use your silence as definitive proof of your guilt.
- Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You – Whatever you tell the police after being read your Miranda Rights will be used against you in court in whatever way is most incriminating. That’s how the judicial system works, and it’s why you should really consult the best criminal defense attorney before ever speaking during a criminal interrogation.
- You Have the Right to an Attorney – You have the right to consult with or have a lawyer present when being questioned by the police. If you request a lawyer, they must stop the interrogation until your defense attorney is present. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you still have the right to have one appointed to you by the court before questioning continues. Be sure to be clear when you are invoking your rights. It’s not good enough if you simply say, “I think I should talk to an attorney.” You need to clearly and unequivocally state that you want an attorney and won’t speak until you’ve consulted with them.
It doesn’t matter where an interrogation takes place by police. If someone is in custody and deprived of their freedom of action in any significant way, the Miranda rights must be read if the police want to ask questions and use the answers as evidence at trial.
If that person is NOT in police custody, however, the Miranda warning is not required and anything the person says can be used at trial. Police officers often avoid arresting people—and make it clear to them that they’re free to go—precisely so they don’t have to give the Miranda warning. Then they can arrest the suspect after getting the incriminating statement they wanted all along.
The Bottom Line: If you believe that your Miranda rights have been violated, this can have a significant impact on your case and may even lead to a dismissal of any charges against you. That’s why it’s crucial to have a strong criminal defense lawyer in your corner. It is also important to understand that police only have to read you your rights if you are in custody and being interrogated. If you are not in custody or police are not interrogating you, then they may choose not to read you your rights. You should still not make any statements to the police and you should consult with an attorney. My number is 513.260.2099
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