For many people who have never been arrested before, or have never seen someone else being arrested, you may be surprised that the exact wording that you see on TV shows, like CSI or Law and Order, is actually correct.
"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 to you."
That is normally where the similarities end between TV and real life. Once you are placed in police custody in real life, no one is going to come swooping in to save you. That is why it's important to know your Miranda rights, to know what they mean, and how to utilize them. A Tommalieh Law, we make sure all of our clients know their rights, and we ensure that we do everything in our power to make sure our client's rights are respected. And when they aren't, we do everything we can to seek justice for our clients.
What Are Miranda Rights?
Miranda rights are constitutional rights, awarded to all citizens and residents of the United States and its territories, thanks to the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona case, decided by the Arizona Supreme Court and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In this case, Ernesto Arturo Miranda was arrested, accused of kidnapping and rape, and questioned until he admitted guilt and signed a confession.
Ernesto Miranda's criminal defense lawyer argued to the Arizona Supreme Court that he was never told he had the right to an attorney, and believed that he was not allowed an attorney, and was therefore coerced into confessing to the crime regardless of whether or not he was actually guilty. Miranda won, and his treatment was found to be a violation of his 5th amendment right to protection against self-incrimination. It was decided by the court that police officers must verbally inform those they arrest of their rights while under arrest, and those rights must be waived by the suspect under arrest. They can be waived via written consent, audio recording consent, or video recording consent.
There are four categories within the Miranda rights:
- The right to stay silent
- the right to speak with an attorney during interrogations
- the right to have an attorney present
- the right against self-incrimination
Unlike other rights, such as the right to Freedom of Movement or the right to own a Firearm, your Miranda rights are unalienable rights, and cannot be taken from you. You must willfully give these rights up in order to lose them, no matter the situation.
Can My Miranda Rights Be Violated?
There are several ways that your Miranda rights can be violated, and ways they can protect you. Nothing you say before you are "read your rights" can be used against you in a court of law. Even if you confess to a murder, for example, this cannot be used against you as evidence at trial if you had not been informed of your Miranda rights and waived them before confessing. Your confession is not admissible because it would not be considered a voluntary statement or confession.
After you invoke your right to speak to an attorney or have an attorney present, the police can no longer interrogate you. If the police interrogation continues after you have invoked your rights, then anything you say can no longer be used against you since continued questioning is a violation of your rights. Because Law Enforcement Officials know that they can get in trouble for violating your rights in this way, most law enforcement officers will end the custodial interrogation upon your request for a criminal defense attorney.
Is There Anything That Miranda Rights Do Not Cover During an Arrest?
There are a few things that are exempt from being subjected to Miranda rights during an arrest or interrogation. In the most basic terms, these are simple informative questions that do not have anything to do with the charges against you. This applies to questions like a police officer asking what your name is for booking purposes or asking your address, etc. Because these questions do not have anything to do with the case against you but are simple book-keeping questions needed to properly book you into the police station, you are required to answer them even if you have invoked your right to stay silent.
Unless you invoke these rights, they will not cover you fully. You will not be assigned a court-appointed attorney or a public defender until you invoke your rights and request one. You must verbally ask for an attorney in order to invoke your right to one. This goes the same for your right to remain silent, you should invoke this right verbally by informing the arresting or interrogating officers that you are invoking your right to stay silent and avoid self-incrimination in order for it to have a full effect.
This goes the same in the opposite direction: you must specifically waive your rights in order for police to question you fully. Officers are not allowed to coerce you into giving up your rights, but they can ask you if you wish to waive your right to an attorney or waive your right to stay silent. While they do not need you to verbally waive these rights in order to question you, many officers prefer that the accused verbally waives their rights so that the law enforcement officer can be sure of the admissibility of evidence of guilt they discover during a custodial interrogation.
What Should I Do if My Miranda Rights Have Been Violated?
If you feel as though your rights have been violated, immediately verbally invoke both your right to be silent, and your right to an attorney, and do not speak to anyone until you are alone in the presence of your attorney. Try to remember everything about the situation in order to inform your attorney of this violation. Any and all details during your time in police custody can help: from the police officer's names and badge numbers, to even the smallest details of the actual event, the names, and locations of any witnesses or cameras, etc.
Even the smallest detail can make a huge difference in your defense proceedings, create reasonable suspicion or reasonable doubt, and can be the difference between spending years in prison and walking free due to a violation of your rights and substantive evidence being marked inadmissible.
If your rights have been violated, any evidence gathered after the violation of those rights is inadmissible in court, as well as any evidence gathered because of additional questioning or interrogation done after the violation of your rights. This can be a spontaneous statement a defendant may make after a violation of their rights, such as an admission of guilt, forensic evidence, or even physical evidence.
For example, if you have been accused of murder and you ask for an attorney, but the police continue to question you before your attorney arrives, and you tell police where the murder weapon is hidden, that confession and the physical evidence of the murder weapon are both "fruit of the poisonous tree" and will not be accepted as evidence in court.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
If your Miranda rights have been violated, it's time to call a lawyer for advice and legal representation. As experienced criminal defense attorneys in Illinois, the legal professionals at Tommalieh Law are ready and willing to help you press charges against the law enforcement officer and police station responsible, and have your record cleared.