How Important Are Miranda Rights?

On behalf of Eisenmenger, Robinson & Peters, P.A. posted in Criminal Law on Monday, October 24, 2022.

miranda rights

If you don’t know what your Miranda Rights are, or why they’re important, this article will help. Someone in the US gets arrested every three seconds. Getting arrested is the first step in admission to the criminal justice system. If you run out the numbers, this equates to over a whopping 10 million new members to the club each year.

By law, it’s expected that all representatives (police, clerks, judges, lawyers, and more) follow due process. This means that there’s a specific protocol from an arrest to jail time, trial, and beyond.

Part of that protocol includes reading Miranda rights. As you probably know from TV or movies, suspects get read their Miranda rights before making a statement to the police or in court.

Anyone familiar with the law knows that these words are extremely important to remember if you plan to bring legal proceedings against a suspect.

The Miranda warning is important to remember not just because of the legal proceedings and protections it provides, but also as a very specific cultural marker in our society.

Read on to learn more about the Miranda warning and Miranda rights and how it directly impacts you as an individual in America.

What Are Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights are what should get read to a person at the time of the arrest. It provides information to the accused about their rights.

The intention of Miranda rights outlines the accused their right to protection against self-incrimination and their right to an attorney.

A suspect must be in custody for Miranda rights to get read and to face interrogation.

What Is a Miranda Warning?

Now, it’s pretty standard procedure for police to use the Miranda warning. This lets the accused know their basic rights without reading the exact and complete Miranda rights.

When Miranda warnings get read, they include the following:

  • Right to remain silent
  • Right to an attorney
  • If they cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided
  • Anything said can be used against them

This is the standard practice Miranda warning used by police out in the field.

What’s the Purpose of Miranda Rights?

The purpose of Miranda rights is to protect an accused person from coercion. They shouldn’t get forced into questioning where they could end up incriminating themselves.

Miranda rights were originally created and put into practice to protect the arrested’s 5th and 6th Amendment rights. More on this shortly.

You’ve probably seen Miranda rights read enough times in TV and movies to assume that the rights are always read the same way. In fact, they can vary from state to state.

They must always include some basic ideals, which include:

  • The person who’s in custody has the right to remain silent
  • Anything the accused does or says while in custody can be used against them
  • The accused has the right to an attorney
  • The accused has the right to have an attorney present when they’re questioned
  • If they can’t afford an attorney, one must be provided for them

Some states use variations on basic Miranda rights. Once Miranda rights get read, the arrested must confirm they understand their rights before police can begin questioning.

Miranda v. Arizona

While Miranda rights should protect the rights found in the 5th and 6th Amendments, Miranda rights didn’t become part of the law until the 1960s.

The landmark Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona created a change that now protects the rights of those taken into custody for questioning.

The defendant Ernesto Miranda was accused of rape, robbery, and kidnapping in his 1963 case. In questioning by police, Miranda confessed to the crimes.

Later he recanted his confession, and it came out that he got questioned without legal representation present to protect his rights. While he wrote out his confession, his lawyers argued he made the confession under duress during interrogation.

The case advanced to the Supreme Court in 1966, where they reversed the findings of the State of Arizona. The case outlined police procedure going forward and also ruled the confession from Miranda couldn’t get used at trial.

Do Miranda Rights Have to Be Read to You?

In theory, yes. You must have Miranda rights read to you before you get questioned.

However, the government is not always required to read you those rights. It is imperative that you invoke your rights before being questioned by anyone from the government.

Your Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment

While Miranda rights protections come from the Supreme Court case, they are rooted in the 5th and 6th Amendments and intended to protect your rights.

The 5th Amendment addresses the criminal procedure used by police. Through Miranda rights, you have the right to remain silent.

The 6th Amendment protects the rights of criminal defendants, including in questioning and in a trial. A suspect taken into custody has the right to an attorney during questioning.

Misconceptions About Miranda

There’s a perception and a general belief that if a person is arrested and Miranda rights are not read to them, then the charges they face will become null and void. This is actually a big misconception.

Your Miranda rights must be read to you before the police can begin questioning you. If you’re arrested, for example, at a crime scene, evidence at the scene and whatever the accused might say outside of the formal questioning can still be used against you.

If police begin questioning you before Miranda rights, anything you say can get suppressed in a court case. However, the evidence and information learned during that time can still get used to build a case against you.

What Should You Do If Arrested?

It’s important to know your rights if you ever face an arrest. No matter what the police say to you, you shouldn’t talk.

Many accused get themselves into more trouble by attempting to explain their way out. Your best approach is to remain silent and ask for an attorney.

Once you hire an attorney or one gets appointed, you’ll have the protection of your rights during questioning and beyond.

Protect Your Rights, Invoke Miranda Rights

Miranda rights are an important part of the criminal justice process to ensure the rights of the accused get protected and not taken advantage of by the police.

If you or someone you love is facing an arrest and needs legal representation, we can help. Contact us today so we can get started working for you. We take great care in gathering the evidence, examining mistakes, and fighting on your behalf.