What Is Miranda and What Do I Do If My Rights Were Not Read?
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
If you’ve ever watched any kind of crime drama on television or in a movie theater, you’ve undoubtedly heard those two lines.
These lines, are part of what is commonly known as Miranda Rights or the Miranda Warning, are typically given by law enforcement when you’re arrested. While you may have heard these terms and have a basic understanding of what they mean, it always helps to know exactly what your rights are and what not being read your Miranda rights might mean.
In this blog post, we will explore just what.
What Is the Miranda Warning?
When you are arrested and held in police custody, the Fifth Amendment requires that you be given a Miranda warning before any questioning about criminal activity. This is done to ensure that any statements you make during the questioning can be used during trial by the prosecution.
In the simplest terms, your rights say that you can remain silent if you choose to, but if you choose to speak, what you say can be used against you in court by the prosecution. In addition, you have the right to speak with a lawyer and that lawyer can be present during your questioning. Because you have the right to a lawyer, the state will appoint one if you can’t afford to hire one yourself. Finally, your Miranda rights state that you can refuse to speak to police at any point, even during the middle of an interrogation.
It’s important to note that Miranda rights only apply after you’ve been arrested, so any questions asked before an actual arrest can be used against you without you having been read your rights. However, you ALWAYS have the right to remain silent when confronted by police and in most cases it is best to exercise that right until you have had the chance to speak with an attorney.
What Happens If I Haven’t Been Read My Rights?
The common misconception is that you simply walk away without any kind of punishment if it comes to light that you were not read your Miranda rights, but that isn’t true.
That’s not to say that not receiving your Miranda rights might not be to your advantage.
In many instances, if an arresting officer doesn’t read you your Miranda rights, then any statements you make during a formal interrogation can’t be used as evidence in your prosecution. A lack of evidence can go a long way toward ensuring you keep your freedom and are able to continue living your life.
When facing a situation where you’re being questioned by the police you should have a criminal defense lawyer present. Doing so will ensure that you’re able to fully exercise your rights in the face of a complex legal system. For more information contact a criminal defense attorney at Petrovich & Walsh, P.L.C.