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Miranda Rights 101

By January 31, 2016May 9th, 2016Criminal Defense

If you have ever watched a television show or movie about the criminal justice system, undoubtedly you have heard these famous lines: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…” These words – detailing your Miranda Rights – are uttered so often in entertainment media that they can easily lose their meaning.

But what do the Miranda Rights actually mean, how will they apply to you if you are arrested in Central Florida? Read ahead for a brief and easy to understand explanation of these oft-quoted words.

Where does the name ‘Miranda’ come from?

These rights are named after a famous Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona, but as a concept they originate far earlier (this court case just cemented when and how the rights need to be explained and provided).

What are Miranda rights or Miranda warnings?

What are the Miranda Rights?

The constitutional rights often referred to as the Miranda rights include:

  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to avoid self-incrimination
  • The right to an attorney during any police questioning
  • The right to an attorney when in court

Do police officers have to say the Miranda Rights the same way, every time?

The answer is no – and yes. Many police departments do require their officers to quote the same script verbatim when arresting an individual, but the Supreme Court did not specify that any particular wording be used when a suspect is given their constitutional rights. However, the Supreme Court did require that the information be conveyed in an easily understandable and comprehensive way.

Does a suspect have to agree to the Miranda Rights?

One of the stipulations of the Miranda ruling is that a suspect must communicate that they do indeed understand their rights before any questioning can proceed. Simply put – an individual must say “yes” when asked if they understand before any questioning can occur.

Who Do the Miranda Rights Apply To, and When?

The Supreme Court ruling states that everyone has Miranda Rights, but they come into effect as soon as a law enforcement official begins to question their suspect about the crime at hand. Note that these rights do not have to be communicated immediately at the time of arrest (unlike what is shown in most television shows) – only before questioning begins. That said, most officers will state these rights when arresting an individual in order to simply the process and ensure that this step is never missed.

‘Stop and Identify’ Laws

In 2004, the Supreme Court did uphold certain state ‘stop and identify’ laws – this means that police officers can ask personal information about an individual without providing the Miranda Rights statements.

How can you ensure your rights are protected?

As you can see, these rights are pivotal and deeply important in the American criminal justice system. Are you unsure if your Miranda Rights were protected during a recent arrest? Are you looking for legal counsel for questioning or trial? A skilled, professional and top rated criminal lawyer is a must whenever your rights are in play – do not hesitate. Hire the best criminal lawyer in Orlando and make sure your freedom is protected.