If you are a fan of police dramas or law TV series, then you’ve probably heard the line, “You have to remain silent…,” playing out so many times. This phrase normally pops up when an officer arrests a suspect. These words are a tidbit of what we call, “Miranda Rights.”
Unfortunately, most people do not understand what the Miranda laws are all about, considering that cop dramas never state the full rights. As a result, you might misconceive that you can walk scot-free in case a law enforcer does not recite these warnings to you. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Our orange county criminal defense attorney explains everything you need to know about the Miranda Rights.
What Exactly Are Miranda Rights
The famous “Miranda Rights” have a long history that goes back to 1996 during a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case. The court ruled that the arresting police officer had violated the rights of an armed robbery suspect known as Ernesto Arturo Miranda prior to his trial.
Apparently, the arresting officer did not inform the suspect about his rights. Therefore, the court ruled that it is unlawful to collect self-incriminating evidence against a suspect while they are unaware of their rights. Since that ruling, it is a requirement for law enforcement officers to remind suspects about their rights before making an arrest.
The Miranda Rights state that:
- You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions
- Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law
- You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you
- You can invoke your right to remain silent during an interrogation
- If you invoke your right to remain silent or your right to an attorney, the interrogation must stop until you consult your attorney
An officer can only recite these warnings in two specific situations:
- When the suspect is in police custody
- When the suspect is under interrogation
Reality vs. Myth
Most people assume that if an officer does not read out the Miranda warnings, then one can walk out free. In reality, failure to read these rights means that the cop cannot use anything you say as evidence in a court of law. Essentially, if an officer does not recite your rights, then any self-incriminating statements you make will not apply against you. Moreover, anything that you say that leads to further evidence cannot apply to court. Importantly, a suspect has to accept verbally that they know and understand their rights as explained to them.
Invoking Your Rights
It is essential to take full advantage of the Miranda Rights in case you are arrested. Moreover, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible and avoid answering questions even if it seems harmless to do so.
Contact Our Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
Whether you are in police custody or under interrogation, it is advisable to remain silent until your lawyer arrives. This might help you to avoid possible charges or even evade a conviction. Call our experienced Orange County attorney today to help you understand and invoke your Miranda Rights.