3 Aug. 2016

What Are My Miranda Rights?

Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez

When police make an arrest, they are required to recite your Miranda Rights. Regardless of whether or not you have ever been arrested, you are likely familiar with these or some slight variation of these words: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense."

What exactly are these rights, and how do they protect you? It is critical that police officers read you these rights – if they do not, they cannot use anything you say against you in court – essentially rendering their case against you invalid.

The Origin of Miranda Rights

Miranda Rights are named after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. In this case, Ernesto Miranda was arrested for stealing $8.00 from a bank worker in Arizona. Because he was never told that he had a right to an attorney and a right not to speak to police, he simply confessed to this and two other crimes, and was subsequently found guilty. This decision was appealed. The Justices ruled that the statements Miranda made could not be used against him in court because he had not been informed of his rights under the Constitution.

Since then, police are now required to recite the Miranda warning to suspects before they can be questioned. In short, this case did not establish new rights, but simply instituted further protection of existing rights guaranteed by the Fifth and Sixth Amendment.

Here is a breakdown of your rights under the Constitution and what it means for you:

  1. You have the right to remain silent. You don’t have to talk to police or give them any statements without your lawyer present. We advise you to firmly, but politely, inform the arresting officer that you will not answer any questions until you have contacted an attorney.
  2. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. Many innocent people, intimidated by an arrest and questioning, give up their right to remain silent without realizing how much they may be hurting their case. Be aware that even what you consider to be innocuous statements can be used to convict you, so it is wise to withhold answering questions until an attorney can advise you.
  3. You have the right to have an attorney present. You don’t have to answer any questions without legal counsel present. If the police try to question a subject after an arrest, they must cease the interrogation if the suspect requests an attorney.
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Suspects must be informed that if they cannot afford to pay an attorney, one will be appointed to them at no charge. This insures that all people have access to justice regardless of their ability to pay.

Arrested in Tampa? Call Us for Immediate Help

Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez, Attorneys at Law handles the full range of criminal charges in Tampa. If you’ve been accused of a crime and need to speak with an experienced attorney, please contact us as soon as possible to request a free and confidential consultation. Fill out an online form to get started, or call our office at (813) 774-3341.

Categories: Criminal Defense
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