Most people know about the concept of Miranda Rights, or the Miranda warning. Because much of what most people know may come from film and television, it’s important to take a closer look at what Miranda Rights are, and why they matter when it comes to criminal law.
Where they come from – Miranda Rights stem from a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Miranda v. Arizona. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that suspects who have been detained, prior to law enforcement questioning, need to be informed of their Constitutional right to an attorney and their right against self-incrimination.
What are Miranda Rights exactly? – There’s no exact verbiage for Miranda Rights. Generally, they inform you about your rights, i.e. “You have the right to remain silent” and “have an attorney present” or similar language along those lines. Police don’t have to recite a specific statement.
Do police have to read my Miranda Rights? – It depends on the circumstances. If you have been detained (i.e. are taken into custody and not free to leave) and being interrogated, then the answer is yes. This means there are many general scenarios where police do not have to read you your Miranda Rights. Examples include:
- You haven’t been arrested yet
- You’ve been stopped for committing a traffic offense
- An officer has reasonable suspicion to stop you
How can they play a role in my case? – It’s a common misconception that just because a police officer didn’t read you your Miranda Rights, you’ll get the case thrown out. Generally, that isn’t true. The most important thing to consider in relation to your Miranda Rights is that they are a representation of your Fifth Amendment rights, including your right to remain silent, and your right to legal representation, and that they apply only to statements made under custodial interrogation. Simply put, you’d have to have been taken into custody and interrogated without being advised of your rights in order for the issue of officers not reading your Miranda rights to even come into play.
Focusing on Important Aspects of Your Case
What Miranda Rights can help remind you of is that you do have rights any time you are stop, detained, questioned, and searched by law enforcement officers. Police have clear rules and procedures by which they must abide – including not only informing you of your rights during a custodial interrogation, but also the requirement that they have reasonable suspicion to stop you, and probable cause to conduct any further investigation, or a lawful search and seizure.
Focusing on the conduct of law enforcement officers and the circumstances surrounding your arrest is an important part of any criminal case, and it’s something our legal team at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. focuses on when protecting the rights, freedoms, and futures of our clients. If, for example, a law enforcement officer pulled you over without reasonable suspicion, or searched your person or property without probable cause, any evidence they obtain as a result of an unlawful search and seizure may be inadmissible, which could result in a case dismissal or more favorable resolution.
Criminal charges are serious matters, and they demand the insight of experienced criminal defense lawyers who know the law and how to hold law enforcement to the high standards by which they must conduct themselves. If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Clearwater or any of the surrounding areas of Florida, our criminal defense attorneys are available to review your case, discuss your rights, and explain how we can fight on your behalf.
Contact us to discuss your case with a Clearwater criminal defense attorney.