Being arrested is a complicated situation that could change your life. The first thing you should know is that you have certain rights if you are arrested that officers must respect. Although this scenario is likely to be very stressful, it is best to stay calm and remember your rights so that you have a better chance of a favorable outcome for yourself.
Origins of the Miranda Laws
The rights you have if you are arrested are known as Miranda rights. Their origin is the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona. In this case, Ernesto Miranda was arrested without being informed that he could remain silent and be accompanied by an attorney. Subsequently, during interrogation he confessed to three crimes, signing a statement that he had made his confession “voluntarily and knowingly”.
Consequently, Miranda’s conviction was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that Miranda’s confession to the police could not be used as evidence against him because he had not been advised of his constitutional rights. As a result, he was retried and convicted. However, regardless of his conviction, it set the precedent for the U.S. Supreme Court to establish Miranda rights on June 12, 1966.
Miranda rights apply to anyone who is arrested, regardless of the nature or severity of the crime with which they are being charged. There is no mandatory set order in which they must be pronounced, nor is it necessary that they be said exactly as they were stated in the Miranda case, as long as they are properly and completely conveyed.
The standard Miranda warning states: “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 speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.”
Now, let’s analyze the points one by one to understand what they are about and what they imply for you and your legal process.
You have the constitutional right to remain silent…
The right to remain silent is so that you do not incriminate yourself, and so that your silence during custodial interrogation cannot be used against you in court. This means that even if you remain silent in the face of certain questions, this behavior cannot be seen as incriminating because you have the right not to answer.
Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law…
After stating that you have the right to remain silent, it is stressed that anything you say will be used against you. In-custody interrogations are highly stressful, and police officers are looking for you to confess or provide information to confirm their own story, so they will use techniques to get you to talk. For this reason, it is crucial to remember that anything you say, even if you don’t think it is important, can be used against you.
You have the right to an attorney; if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you…
This means that everyone has the right to a lawyer, even if they cannot afford to pay for one themselves. This right is also known as the right to counsel, and comes from the Sixth Amendment, which states, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right…to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
If you are in the middle of an interrogation and you decide to invoke this right, the police must stop the interrogation, wait for your lawyer to arrive or be appointed, and once you are accompanied by your attorney, resume the interrogation.
What Happens If You Aren’t Read Your Miranda Rights Before Being Arrested?
Any information, statements, or confessions you give cannot be used against you in court if you have not been given the Miranda warning. However, remember that just because you were not informed of your rights after the arrest does not mean that the case will automatically be dismissed.
Being arrested and charged with a crime is a situation that can have repercussions in many aspects of your life: you could lose your job, the support of your friends and family, and even your freedom. The best thing you can do to ensure that your legal process is fair is to hire an experienced attorney.
At AMS Law Group, we have attorneys with extensive experience in all types of criminal cases, whether they involve state or federal court charges. Contact us for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and our staff is fluent in English, Spanish, and Arabic.