Although anyone who has watched a police show on TV has likely encountered the famous Miranda warning, few people actually know what the vast legal implications of the Miranda warning are.
Miranda v. Arizona – The Historical Basis
In Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court established a landmark decision regarding an individual’s 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and their 6th Amendment right to counsel. In Miranda, the police questioned Ernesto Miranda concerning the kidnapping and rape of a teenage girl based off of circumstantial evidence. After two hours of interrogation, Miranda signed a confession implicating himself in the rape charges. Throughout the interrogation, the police never told Miranda that he had the right to counsel of an attorney or the right to remain silent. After considering the facts and the legal rights in question, the Supreme Court mandated that a criminal defendant must be explicitly informed of their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and their 6th Amendment right to counsel before and during an interrogation. Additionally, a criminal defendant must understand his rights and voluntarily waive them. This decision established a brightline rule that police officers were required to follow in order to obtain evidence admissible in a court of law.
The Miranda Warning
The Miranda waning is short and to the point: “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 provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
Although the Miranda warning seems fairly simple, there is far more to it then meets the eye. As such, if you are faced with an interrogation as a criminal defendant, it is important that you understand the implications of your actions. Although you may be confused, stressed, and/or afraid, the most important thing you can do in a criminal interrogation is to acknowledge that you understand your Miranda warning, explicitly state that you want an attorney, and stop talking. By doing this, you prevent any further complications in what could already be a complicated criminal matter.
If you or someone you know have been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.