Miranda Rights: How They Can Impact Your Freedom
It’s easy to get the impression from TV and movies that if you are arrested but not read your Miranda rights, you’re going to be off of the hook. Unfortunately, this is not the case, but if the police don’t read you these rights, it may prevent the prosecutor from using what you said to police as evidence in your case.
Remember that as with just about all legal issues, these rules may change depending on your situation. If you’re arrested or think you will be arrested, speak to a criminal lawyer about your case as soon as you can to protect your rights and your freedom.
What exactly are Miranda rights?
Stemming from the Miranda v. Arizona Supreme Court case, a Miranda rights reading or warning is information about your own rights that police officers are required to give you after they have arrested you.
Before a police officer can arrest you, they have to tell you the following:
-You have the right to stay silent
-Whatever you say can and will be used against you in court
-During any questioning, you have the right to have an attorney with you
-An attorney will be appointed for you if you want one but cannot afford it
When are Miranda warnings required?
When it comes to Miranda rights, it does not matter where you are questioned by police–it could be on the side of the road, at a crime scene, in jail or smack in the middle of the beach. If you are in custody–no longer having your freedom–the officers arresting you are required to read you the Miranda rights if they want to ask questions and use what you tell them as evidence in court.
The police are not required to read your rights when you are not in their custody, but anything you say to them can still be used as evidence in court. It’s not uncommon for officers to avoid arresting someone so they don’t have to give that person their Miranda rights. This is done with the aim of getting the person to admit guilt in some way so the officers can then make the arrest. That’s why if you are being asked questions by police but have not been formally arrested, it’s wise to stay silent. The only thing you should do is let the police know you are exercising your right to remain silent and you want an attorney.
Be aware that the police may try to trick you into answering questions, especially when you do not have an attorney with you. Whatever they say, do not answer questions about the incident you are being questioned about without speaking to an attorney.
Laws surrounding Miranda rights are complex, and there are a lot of case-dependent factors that come into play regarding them. If you believe you have been illegally arrested in violation of your rights, work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Denver, CO to protect those rights.
Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and miranda rights.