People who have watched movies or television shows involving the police have likely heard the officers reading someone their rights. These are known as the Miranda rights because they stem from a court case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court involving a man with that name.
The Miranda warning is something that helps to ensure that someone who’s in police custody knows their constitutional rights. There are some important points to remember about these rights.
#1: Miranda rights are valid only in certain instances
You only have to be read your Miranda rights if you’re in police custody and will be interrogated. This means the police officer doesn’t have to read you these rights if they’re just asking identifying information and you’re free to walk away from them. Typically, you’re placed in custody when you’re arrested; however, it’s also considered custody if you aren’t free to leave your current location.
#2: Police must read you your Miranda rights
The officers must read your rights to you. They must list the rights that you have instead of just assuming you know these. You’ll be asked if you understand your rights. In some cases, you’ll be asked to sign a statement acknowledging your rights, but you can refuse to sign the statement.
#3: You must clearly invoke your Miranda rights
Your rights must be invoked clearly. Merely staying quiet doesn’t do this. Instead, you need to make a statement such as “I invoke my Miranda rights” or “I choose to remain silent” to let the officers know that you want those rights.
#4: Questioning can’t continue if you invoke your rights
Once you invoke your rights, the questioning has to stop. Police officers can’t switch to different interrogators to continue questioning you. Be sure you remain quiet after you invoke your rights.
#5: Miranda rights violations can be part of a defense strategy
Police officers violating your Miranda rights can be part of a criminal defense strategy. This has to be carefully crafted into the case, but it can result in some evidence or statements being tossed out of the case presented by the prosecution.
Cases involving a Miranda rights violation can be challenging. Working with someone who’s familiar with these matters is crucial because of the complexities involved. It’s best to start working on your defense strategy early in the case so you aren’t trying to rush through the planning.