Many people are confused about their Miranda rights and what they are. Miranda rights were granted in 1966 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people taken into custody must be read their Fifth Amendment rights prior to being questioned. These were awarded during the Miranda v. Arizona case, so they have taken on the name “Miranda rights.”
What are your Miranda rights, and when do they kick in?
Miranda rights protect you against self-incrimination. With your Miranda rights, you have the right to remain silent, because anything you say could be used against you in court. For example, if you’re being questioned, the police have to tell you that you have the right to an attorney and that what you say can be used against you in court. Additionally, you have a right to an attorney even if you can’t afford them. If you can’t afford an attorney, one must be appointed to your case.
When you’re arrested, the police aren’t obligated to read your rights, even though many do. In reality, your Miranda rights only have to be read to you before you’re questioned. If you are not advised of your Miranda rights when you are being questioned, then you may have a case for having evidence or even an admission of guilt withheld from court.
Here’s an example. If a man is arrested and interrogated but was never read his rights, the statements he made would be considered involuntary. Those involuntary statements would then be considered unlawful, and the statements would be thrown out of the case against the man. Evidence found in other ways would still remain, but if evidence was found as a result of the statements made during an interrogation without Miranda rights, that evidence would likely be inadmissible as well.
At the end of the day, the best advice that anyone can give is to stay quiet from the time of an arrest until you get a chance to speak with your attorney. Doing so will save you a lot of trouble and prevent unfair evidence being collected. Your attorney will talk to you about what you can say or do safely, so that you don’t accidentally make mistakes that end up threatening your case. Your attorney will do all they can to prevent inadmissible evidence from making its way into court, so that your best interests are always being protected as best as possible.