Miranda Rights

By Attorney Daveta Williams

When being read your Miranda rights you will be advised of the following:

  1. You have the right to remain silent
  2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law
  3. You have the right to an attorney
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you
  5. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?
  6. With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?

 

When discussing Miranda rights there are a number of factors taken into consideration when determining whether you should have been read Miranda warnings. For instance, whether you are in “custody” and whether you are being interrogated or questioned regarding the matters related to your arrest. Typically, an arrest triggers the requirement of Miranda warnings; however, there are instances that may lead to an accused being read their Miranda warnings prior to arrest. There are also instances where an accused may be considered in “custody” although not placed in handcuffs and arrested. Below I will discuss each of the above-mentioned Miranda warnings in hopes of providing a better understanding of the warnings given.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

This means that you can remain silent and choose not to make any statements or answer any questions posed by the law enforcement officer. You may politely exercise your right to remain silent by stating you do not wish to make any statements without an attorney present. You do not have to make any additional statements after making this statement. Typically, any further interrogation or questions would cease. 

Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law

Any statements made, verbal or written, will be used against you in your case. Any confession made will be used against you at trial. The officer will report any statements made in his arrest affidavit, which will be submitted to the State Attorney, who will prosecute the case.

You have the right to an attorney

This means you have the right to have an attorney present during any interrogation and at all times during questioning. This is your right regardless of whether you have the financial ability to have an attorney present at the interrogation. 

If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you

This means if you do not have the financial ability to retain an attorney to be present, one will be appointed to you by the Court. You may choose to simply state that you wish to have an attorney present. 

Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?

This question is to ensure you understand all of the rights above. Any decision to speak with law enforcement after stating an understanding of the above rights can be used as evidence of a knowing and voluntary waiver of Miranda rights. This means that any statements and/or confessions may be admissible in Court.

With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?

This question will determine whether you have waived the protections afforded to you by the Miranda warnings. If you are choosing to invoke your Miranda rights, the answer to this question should be no and the answer should remain no. This is typically where issues of threats or coercion arise. If you decide to waive your Miranda rights by speaking to the law enforcement officer and answering any questions posed, the threats or coercion used may be a factor taken into consideration; however, those statements may be admissible against you. Even if you agree to speak with the police, you may withdraw that consent at any time. Remember you have the right to remain silent!

Do you believe your case should be dismissed as a result of not being read Miranda warnings? While this may be true for some cases, this is not true for every case. It simply depends on the circumstances surrounding your case that will ultimately lead to the dismissal of the entire case. For instance, as a result of not being read Miranda warnings, only statements made to law enforcement may be excluded; however, the evidence collected may still be admissible. Often, there are times where a case cannot be proven without the evidence excluded, which results in the dismissal of the entire case. If you have been arrested and have been read Miranda warnings, be sure to take into consideration the possible consequences of waiving these rights. The consequence you face as a result of waiving your Miranda right is found within the Miranda warnings: “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

A skilled attorney will be able to review your case and may be able to make an argument as to grounds for dismissal or exclusion of evidence, as a result of Miranda warnings not being read. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Miranda Rights
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