Our founding fathers established certain requirements when it came to creating a new country and a new government. Many of those provisions dealt with the individual and collective freedoms of citizens of the United States. These rights were given to people through the U.S. Constitution and its amendments. Some of the most important rights to those accused of criminal offenses in this country are referred to as “Miranda rights” after the conclusion of the 1966 Supreme Court case, Arizona v. Miranda. This landmark case established the requirement that suspects must be informed of their rights, a protocol used by all police forces around the country.
Miranda rights apply to all persons, including both documented and undocumented immigrants, not just U.S. citizens.
What Are Miranda Rights?
Your Miranda rights are those rights that are guaranteed to you in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right against self-incrimination. The case Arizona v. Miranda established that all police officers are required to inform you of these rights. All police departments have a different variation of the text used, but it typically sounds something like this:
“You are being placed under arrest. 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 to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?”
Effects of Miranda Rights on Criminal Cases
Arizona v. Miranda made a huge impact on the way that criminal law was practiced in the United States. Now, instead of police slyly gathering evidence by talking to a suspect who has been arrested, they must ensure the suspect is aware of his or her rights first. However, the protection under Miranda rights can only go so far. Some people are misinformed or misunderstand how those rights can protect them. For example, police are not required to read you your Miranda rights until after they have already placed you under arrest. Prior to that, any statements a police officer can gather before you are actually arrested can be used against you. Once you are in police custody, however, if the officer does not read you your rights before he or she interrogates you, anything you say will most likely be inadmissible as evidence. That is why it is essential to speak with a knowledgeable attorney before you say anything.
Right Against Self Incrimination
The Miranda decision addresses the intention of the judicial system to protect a defendant’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The case prohibits the prosecution from introducing in its case-in-chief (at trial) any statement . . . procured by custodial interrogation, unless the police precede their interrogation with [Miranda] warnings.”
For Miranda to apply – a defendant must be subjected to both custody and interrogation. Both must be present before the Miranda rule applies.
A Judge reviewing a claim of violation of Miranda must make that determination from the facts before that Judge. Typically whether the suspect is in custody or not is the key factor in the analysis. The questioning of a suspect is usually the simpler of the two prongs of Miranda.
In the United States, the freedom of its citizens has always been an important aspect of our country. As a U.S. citizen, you have the right to exercise your constitutional rights, even if you were not informed of them during or after your arrest. When it comes to key constitutional provisions like due process and equal treatment under the law, the U.S. Constitution applies to all persons, which includes both documented and undocumented immigrants, and not just U.S. citizens.
If you are arrested for a crime and are afraid that you will make self-incriminating statements to the police, it is important that you request to have your lawyer present.
Until your lawyer is present.....remain silent.