Three Facts About The Miranda Warning You Should Know


You've probably seen the following happen a few times on TV or in the movies: a detective takes a suspect by the arm, turns him or her around to put on handcuffs, and loudly begins to recite, "You have the right to remain silent." That's the first few words of the Miranda warning. It's also known as being "read your rights." And, it's one of the most commonly misunderstood rules of the criminal legal system. Here are 3 things that everyone should know about the Miranda warning.

1.) The police do not have to give the Miranda warning in order to arrest you.

In fact, most ordinary arrests don't require a Miranda warning because the police arrest the suspect on "probable cause." Probable cause is nothing more than a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. For example, if an officer sees you drive through a stop sign, pulls you over, and smells the odor of alcohol on your breath, that could be enough probable cause to arrest you for a DUI. If the police don't need your statements to make an arrest, they don't need to read you your rights.

The police only have to give you the Miranda warning when you are both in their custody and they want to question you. This should also tell you another thing: if you have been given your Miranda warning, the police probably need you to say something to incriminate yourself in order to arrest you. Use that warning. Stop talking and ask for an attorney.

2.) The exact wording of the Miranda warning doesn't matter.

There's a somewhat pervasive belief that there is an exact set of words that must be followed when the Miranda warning is given. This idea probably goes back to some early rulings on the issue in a few court cases. However, the Supreme Court has held on several different occasions, going as far back as 1981, that a Miranda warning is acceptable as long as it clearly conveys the basic points: 

  • you have the right to remain silent and can refuse to answer questions
  • if you don't stay silent, whatever you say can be used against you in court
  • you have the right to an attorney during questioning
  • if you can't afford an attorney to come help you during questioning, one will be appointed to help you

3.) Your case probably won't be thrown out of court for lack of a proper Miranda warning.

There are times that the Miranda warning should be given and it isn't. If that happens to you, however, it doesn't mean an automatic dismissal of your case. Instead, your defense attorney will probably succeed in getting any confession or voluntary statements that you made kept out of evidence. (Unless the police got you to repeat your statements after giving you the proper warning.)

If that results in the prosecution not having enough evidence to continue to trial, then your case might be over. However, the prosecution may think that the physical evidence or witness statements alone are enough to make the case.

Since every case is different, your defense attorney will have to examine your situation in order to determine if the Miranda warning has any impact at all on your case. Click for additional info


22 March 2016

why you need to hire an attorney

Over the years, I have learned several lessons the most difficult ways possible. One lesson that I have learned is to never try to handle legal issues without legal representation working with you. I have faced fines and penalties that could have been greatly reduced had I hired an attorney to represent me in court. This blog will show you several ways you could benefit from paying for the legal fees associated with hiring an attorney anytime a legal issue may arise. You will also find examples of how things can go terribly wrong if you don't hire an attorney.