10th February 2020
“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?”
What are Miranda Rights?
The Miranda Rights refer to the statement (the “Miranda warning”) that a police officer or other official is required to read to someone before they’re arrested. The statement is required, by law, of all arresting officials. Miranda Rights are a statement of protection against self-incrimination. They’re a reminder that you don’t have to say anything, as in, “you have the right to remain silent.”
The Miranda Warning lays out the laws for the arrestee, and reminds them of their rights when it comes to speaking with the police. It protects the rights of the individual, as well as prevents the suspect from giving false confession.
We’ve all seen cop shows, we hear these rights read over and over before arrests, but what do they actually mean, and what happens if your rights aren’t read to you before your arrest?
Who is Ernesto Miranda?
Ernesto Miranda confessed to a crime shortly after being arrested. After a lot of interrogation, he confessed. He was tried for kidnapping, robbery, and rape, but the case was eventually overturned because the police were intimidating during their interrogation of Miranda. However, Miranda was convicted later in a retrial.
MirandaWarning says this about the warning coming into existence, “Prior to the institution of the Miranda Warning, confessions need only be voluntary on the part of the suspect. This created a difficult situation for the police, who were often faced with evidence at trial that the person was not of sound mind or were under circumstantial duress when they gave their confession.”
The actual text of the Miranda warning was written by Doris Maier, a California deputy attorney general, and Harold Berliner, a district attorney. The rights can differ from state to state, but only slightly in wording.
What are the Miranda Rights?
You have the right to remain silent.
This first warning is a simple statement and reminder that they’re not required to speak. Being arrested can be scary, and you may feel like you’re required to talk to the arresting officer. However, this portion of the Miranda Warning reminds you that you’re not required to say anything at all.
Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
Following “you have the right to remain silent,” this warning reminds the arrestee that if they choose to speak, anything they say can be used as evidence in court. In Criminal Law and Procedure for the Paralegal: A Systems Approach, writers James W.H. McCord and Sandra L. McCord state, “This warning may serve to make the individual more acutely aware that he is faced with a phase of the adversary system—that he is not in the presence of persons acting solely in his favor.”
You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you.
If the suspect wishes to speak with an attorney, they have that right. This right can be waived, but they must be of clear and sound mind to waive this right. This means that if they’re being interrogated and decide they would like to consult with an attorney, the interrogation cannot continue until there is an attorney present. However, police stations are not required to have attorneys on stand by.
When do the police have to read my rights?
Your Miranda Rights must be read to you before any interrogation or questioning can be performed after your arrest. The interrogation can happen anywhere: in jail or right after the crime. If you’re in custody, you must be read these rights if the officer wants to use your answers in court. Otherwise, your answers cannot be used.
For this reason, officers have been known to ask questions pre-arrest. They’ll make it seem like the suspect is “free to go” so it’s not classified as custodial interrogation. That way they don’t have to read the Miranda Rights. They then get the incriminating statement they need to make the arrest. Generally, if you haven’t been arrested, you aren’t required to answer their questions.
However, you can be questioned after your arrest and after the reading of your rights. But what happens if they never read you your rights?
I was arrested without being read my Miranda Rights
Plain and simple, if you aren’t read your Miranda Rights, whatever you say in questioning cannot be used in the court of law. Because of this, sometimes cases can be dismissed because of lack of evidence. That’s why it’s so important to be read these rights. If you were arrested without being read your rights, contact our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Sand Law.
The Miranda Warning and Rights are complex laws that can sometimes be hard to understand. If you believe that you were not read these rights, one of our criminal defense lawyers would be happy to speak with you. If you’re located in North Dakota, contact us today for a free initial consultation. You can contact us online or at 701-609-1510.