arrest, handcuffs

What are My Miranda Rights?

arrest, handcuffsIf you watch popular legal dramas, you might think that your “Miranda Rights” mean that you should not talk to police without a lawyer present, but there is much more to them. The following are 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.
  • You have the right to an attorney.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.  

Miranda rights were created by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966 through the case Miranda v. Arizona. The Court declared that whenever a person is taken into police custody, before being questioned he or she must be made aware of the Fifth Amendment right not to make any self-incriminating statements. Therefore, once a custodial interrogation beings, anything a person says is inadmissible in court until that person is informed of his or her Miranda a rights and then waives those rights.  

What is a Custodial Interrogation?  

Custodial Interrogation is questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody.  

What Exactly Constitutes Custody?  

Custody is a substantial seizure. It is either a formal arrest or a restraint on freedom of movement to the degree associated with a formal arrest. The test to judge whether or not a person is in custody  is whether a reasonable person would believe that he or she is not free to leave. If the person is not in custody under this test, then it is not a custodial interrogation and therefore a reading of your Miranda rights is not required.  

What is Interrogation?

Interrogation refers not only to express questioning, but also to any words or actions that the police know or should know are likely to elicit an incriminating response. As with custody, if the elements of an interrogation are not met, then it is not a custodial interrogation and a reading of Miranda rights is not required.

If the elements of a custodial interrogation are met, the officers must first read you your Miranda rights and then ask if you understand these rights. The officers must stop questioning if one of two rights are invoked. First, if the defendant invokes the right to remain silent. This right must be affirmatively invoked. A person must state that he or she is invoking the right to remain silent.  Second, if the defendant invokes the right to counsel. This also must be affirmatively invoked.  All questioning must stop until either the lawyer is present or the defendant reinitiates contact with the police. The only exception to this is if there is a break of more than two weeks between the first and second attempt at interrogation. Here, the defendant would have to invoke the right to counsel again.

If you believe that your Miranda rights have been breached, please contact the experienced attorneys at Shein & Brandenburg. Our team can help ensure that these rights are protected and that your case reflects such rights.