In 1966, The United States Supreme Court ruled that anything a defendant says upon arrest is only admissible in court if the arresting officer warned the arrestee ahead of time. This declaration became known as the Miranda Warning.
What Are the Miranda Rights?
The Miranda Rights are specific rights that defendants must be read upon arrest; these rights are as follows:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- If you choose to speak, anything you say can be held against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to be represented by an attorney during questioning.
- In the case that you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
When a Miranda Warning Is Required
No matter where an arrest takes place, the defendant must be read his or her Miranda Rights as the arrest happens. An arrest means that an individual’s physical freedom is hindered in some way, regardless of whether a crime actually took place or not. If an officer places you under arrest, you are legally obligated to comply with the arresting officer or you could face additional charges, including resisting arrest or obstruction of justice.
If an individual is being questioned by the police, he or she is not consider to be under arrest and a Miranda Warning is not required. In such a case, an officer will make the individual aware that he or she is free to leave, solidifying the fact that the individual is not under arrest. However, after questioning takes place, the individual can be arrested and the police now have incriminating information that can legally be used in court.
Questioning before Arrest
If you are questioned before an arrest takes place, you generally do not have a legal obligation to answer. However, if an officer requests identification, you are legally obligated to provide that to the officer.
After Arrest Questioning
Once you are arrested, it is best to remain quiet until you have a criminal defense attorney by your side. Because police are trained to be expert interrogators, it is very easy for defendants to unknowingly incriminate themselves. You might answer questions that sound routine but are actually meant to place fault or guilt on the defendant if answered in a certain way. Your defense attorney can help you avoid these traps.
If No Miranda Warning Is Given
If you are arrested and the officer does not state your Miranda Rights, the statements you make while in police custody cannot be used as evidence in trial. Always be aware if your Miranda Rights have been read to you.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have questions or concerns about your arrest or criminal charges, contact Bighorn Law immediately. The attorneys at Bighorn Law specialize in criminal defense and know how to stand up for your rights in a court of law. Call us today at 702.333.1111.