The Miranda Rights: What You Should Know

Police Officer Arresting Young Man — Waukegan, IL — Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC

In the world of criminal justice, few phrases are as well-known, or as critical, as the Miranda warning. These rights, which are advised to individuals during their arrest, form a fundamental cornerstone of the US legal system.

Despite their prominence in police shows and movies, many people remain confused about what Miranda rights are, when they apply, and why they are important. Break down the Miranda rights and warnings to ensure you are well-informed about this essential component of the justice process.

Origin of the Miranda Warning

The Miranda rights stem from a landmark Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona. Ernesto Miranda, the accused and convicted perpetrator in this case, was a man who committed acts of robbery, kidnapping, and sexual assault.

Miranda was not advised of his rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, including his right not to incriminate himself and his right to speak with an attorney, before his interrogation. This resulted in his admitting guilt and ultimately leading to his conviction.

However, the Supreme Court held that police must notify suspects of these rights due to the coercive style of interrogation. This decision, along with others like it, is what ultimately led to the creation of the Miranda rights. Ultimately, Miranda’s case prompted a major shift in police practices, with the Miranda warning becoming an integral part of police work.

Application of the Miranda Warning

The police must notify you of your Miranda rights before interrogating you if you are ever placed into custody via a warning. Miranda warnings must be given only before a custodial interrogation, which occurs only when a suspect is in police custody and questions begin.

Therefore, the police are not obligated to inform you of your rights upon arrest or while you are being held in custody. But they have to do it before questioning you. If you are not informed of your rights before being interrogated, the statements you make may be used against you in court.

An arrest does not guarantee detention. When you are in police custody, you are essentially a prisoner there. Therefore, officers only have to tell you your Miranda rights if they intend to interrogate you while you are in custody.

The police are not required to give you your rights if you are allowed to go or not in detention. That is why it is so important to be aware of and prepared to assert your rights whenever you come into contact with law enforcement, whether it is for a routine stop or something more serious.

Fundamental Rights in the Miranda Warning

The Miranda warning ensures that you have the right to refuse to answer questions from law enforcement. You are under no obligation to answer any questions, and the judge cannot use your silence against you.

Everything you say can and will be exploited against you in a legal proceeding if you decide to speak out. A confession might be the sole piece of evidence the prosecution has against you, so this is a hazardous move. If you want to avoid trouble, your defense attorney may tell you to be quiet until they arrive.

You have the right to have legal representation present throughout any police questioning. The law guarantees the right to an attorney’s advice and presence before, during, and after any interrogation. If you are unable to hire an attorney, the court will assign one for you at no expense. You must have complete and accurate information about this right for it to be completely effective.

Last but not least, invoking your rights explicitly is essential to knowing and using them to their greatest extent. If you want to exercise your rights to silence and legal representation, you must say so.

If you do not assert your rights, the police can keep questioning you even if you are innocent. You must act voluntarily, knowingly, and rationally to forego your Miranda rights. Thus, you must be aware of the repercussions of waiving your rights and explain them clearly.

Contact us at Daniels Long & Pinsel, LLC, for legal representation in Waukegan, Antioch, and Winthrop Harbor, IL.

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