While watching your favorite crime drama, you may have heard police officers read alleged criminals their Miranda rights. These are, in short, that they have the right to remain silent, that one can use anything they say against them in court, and that they have the right to legal counsel of their choosing. The point of this is to help people from incriminating themselves.
In California and elsewhere, it is not a requirement that police officers read alleged criminals their Miranda rights in every situation. In fact, there are many times that a person of interest in a criminal case has to invoke the Miranda warning on his or her own.
Where did the Miranda warning come from?
Back in the 1960s, police in Phoenix arrested a man with the last name Miranda for his alleged involvement in various crimes. Police detained him for hours until he confessed to the crimes. His attorney tried to fight the admissibility of the confession because Miranda was not aware of his right to invoke his fifth amendment rights. In the end, Miranda still served time for the crimes, but then came the Miranda warning to ensure that anyone accused of a crime understands his or her rights.
Miranda warning basics
If you ever find yourself a person of interest in a criminal investigation, you must provide police with basic information about you — such as your name, phone number and address — even if you choose to invoke the Miranda warning. Police can still arrest you even if you invoke the Miranda warning. As soon as you state your decision to not answer questions, investigators have to stop all attempts to gather information from you. Finally, if read your Miranda rights, one must read them to you in full.
Remaining silent without invoking the Miranda warning can actually hurt your case. What people fail to realize is that police are not just looking for responses to questions during an investigation. They are looking at your body language, your facial expression and any sounds you make. If you fail to invoke the Miranda warning from the very beginning, all of these things prosecuting attorneys can use against you in court.
Not read your rights or failed to invoke the warning yourself?
If you were not read your rights or if you failed to invoke the Miranda warning yourself, it does not mean that there is no hope for your case. With legal assistance, you can still fight to protect yourself, your rights and your freedom.