Understanding Your Miranda Rights

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."

If you've ever watched a TV show or movie that depicts police officers making arrests, you've probably heard this warning uttered by the officers as they take individuals into custody. In real life, law enforcement's failure to properly deliver the Miranda Warning can be a critical component of criminal defense at the Lake of the Ozarks and around the rest of the country.

An Overview Of The Miranda Rights

The Miranda Warning serves to remind defendants of these rights:
  • The right to remain silent, as anything said can be used against you in court.
  • The right to consult with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you.
  • The right to have an attorney present during police questioning under certain circumstances.

A defendant may invoke these rights before or during a custodial police interrogation. Once a defendant has invoked his or her right to remain silent or to have an attorney present, the police are legally required to terminate the interrogation.

The Trial Of Ernesto Miranda

Photo Source: PBS.org
The Miranda Warning dates back to the case of Miranda v. Arizona in 1966. A man named Ernesto Miranda was arrested for rape, robbery, and kidnapping and confessed to the crimes during police questioning. Miranda's confession was used as evidence against him; he was convicted and sent to prison.  The American Civil Liberties Union argued on appeal that his confession was coerced since he did not know he was not legally required to speak to the police when they interrogated him.  

The Miranda Warning Today

Ernesto Miranda's trial spurred the Supreme Court's ruling that suspects must be informed of their right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during police interrogation. 

Though there are exceptions, the Miranda Warning generally applies to suspects who are:
  • In police custody - the police are not required to issue a Miranda Warning until the suspect is taken into custody.
  • Under police interrogation - the police are not required to issue a Miranda Warning until an interrogation is about to begin.
Additionally, police are required to wait until the suspect specifically acknowledges that he or she understands their rights before the interrogation can get underway. Silence does not count as affirmation. 

If the police fail to follow the rules set forth in Miranda, statements made during the improper interrogation may be suppressed and deemed inadmissible at trial. However, if the suspect chooses to make spontaneous confessions or statements prior to the police delivering the Miranda Warning, those statements may be used in court. 

O'Donnell Law Center Is Here To Defend Your Rights

Our criminal defense attorney is dedicated to ensuring that defendants' rights are protected. If you are facing charges, we encourage you to contact O'Donnell Law Center for representation. 

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

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Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065


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