What Are Your Miranda Rights?
The United States Constitution provides rights to individuals, including when it comes to law enforcement encounters. Specifically, the Fifth Amendment provides the right against self-incrimination, and the Sixth Amendment provides those in trouble with the law the right to have legal counsel. These two rights are the basis of your “Miranda rights,” which most people know about, but many people misunderstand.
If officers read you your Miranda rights, you should always politely tell them that you invoke your rights, and then you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Your attorney can begin defending you right away, including during police communications if needed.
When Do You Have Miranda Rights?
If you are in police custody and officers are trying to ask questions about the suspected crime, they must first inform you of your Miranda rights. They might say something like:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in court
- You have the right to an attorney
- If you cannot afford an attorney, the state will provide one for you
These rights apply when you are under arrest or in a custodial situation, and the police are asking material questions. These rights do not apply to non-material questions, such as gathering your basic information during the booking process.
Invoking Your Rights
You should always invoke these rights. Many people think that invoking their rights and getting legal representation will make them appear guilty. However, keep in mind that the authorities cannot use the invocation of your Miranda rights against you. They can - however - use whatever you say against you.
You might think that you can answer police questions without incriminating yourself, especially if you did not commit the crime. You would be surprised at how the slightest comment can be used against you in a criminal case - even if you are innocent. The best move is to politely inform the officers that you invoke your rights, refrain from answering any questions, and call a criminal defense lawyer for help.
Once you tell officers that you invoke your Miranda rights, they should stop interrogating you immediately. Then, our attorneys can begin examining your situation and represent you in any further police questioning. You must say that you wish to remain silent and contact legal counsel, as simply remaining silent is not always sufficient.
Violations of Miranda Rights
Your Miranda rights are a fundamental part of our justice system and exist to ensure that people who are detained by the police are treated fairly. Unfortunately, these rights are often violated, either through intentional actions or poor policing. Some common examples of Miranda violations include:
- Failing to advise you of your rights at the appropriate time
- Continuing to question you after you have asked for an attorney
- Waiting for a few minutes and restarting an interrogation after you have asked for a lawyer
- Disguising an interrogation as mere conversation
- Question a person who is detained (not free to leave) but not arrested
In many cases, a violation of Miranda rights leads to a confession or other incriminating statements. If our lawyers identify a Miranda violation, we can seek to have everything you said following the violation suppressed from your case. If the prosecutor’s main evidence against you is your confession, and we get the judge to suppress that evidence, it often results in your charges being dropped. It is always important to assess whether Miranda violations occurred during your arrest, as it can help the outcome of your case.
A Riverside Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you spoke to the police after you were arrested or merely detained and are now facing criminal charges, you should call DeLimon Law immediately. Our skilled criminal defense attorney in Riverside can protect your rights and may be able to have anything you told the police thrown out of court. To learn more, call our office today or contact us online.
Daniel DeLimon is a criminal defense attorney in California serving Riverside and San Bernardino, California residents and nearby areas. A former prosecutor with over 17 years of experience and widely respected by the legal community and served as a homicide attorney in one of the nation´s largest district attorney´s offices.