Know Your Rights!

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Surely you have heard these statements at least once before, whether in real life or in a court TV show or a gripping crime movie. You also likely know that these statements make up part of what is known as your Miranda rights. What you may not know, however, is where these rights come from and just how important it is to understand these rights to protect yourself in the event you are ever arrested.

The Full Miranda Rights

Most people know the first few lines of the Miranda rights, but tend to forget the latter statements. When a police officer reads someone his or her rights, the officer must inform the person of the following four rights, which together make up the Miranda rights:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to an attorney.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

When Must the Miranda Rights be Read?

As mentioned above, Miranda rights are generally heard when a police officer is giving them to an individual. By law, police officers and other law enforcement officers are required to inform any individual of his or her Miranda rights before he or she is interrogated if that person is taken into police custody. It is very important to know that “police custody” in regards to Miranda does not necessarily mean that you have been formally arrested. If a reasonable person would have felt as though the police officer suggested that he or she was not free to leave, that situation would qualify as custody within the law. Similarly, interrogation is triggered when words or actions of a police officer are likely to elicit an incriminating response from an individual.

Miranda v. Arizona

You may be wondering why they are known as the “Miranda rights.” In the case Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling designed to protect individuals from self-incrimination. The Court held that to protect individuals’ rights, police officers should be required to inform individuals of their Miranda rights noted above, regarding their right to silence, their right to an attorney (whether or not they can afford one), and the fact that if they do choose to speak, those statements can be used as evidence against them in a later case.

If you have been arrested, it is imperative that you inform an attorney if you were not read your Miranda rights upon being taken into police custody. Although your case may not be entirely thrown out of court, an experienced criminal law attorney may be able to use the fact that you were not properly read your rights to keep certain pieces of evidence and/or statements made, out of court. The reliable West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys at Farkas & Crowley are here to help. Contact our office today to discuss your situation and how our team can help fight for your rights.