For the better part of a century, the Miranda Warning has been part of the criminal arrest process in the United States. Following a Supreme Court ruling in the 1960s, police officers had to begin informing individuals of certain civil rights while they are in police custody.
Many people are familiar with the Miranda Warning because television shows and movies often utilize the warning to dramatic effect. The officer will rattle it off when they put someone in handcuffs or in the backseat of a police cruiser.
Understanding your Miranda rights is so important that police officers have to ensure they communicate those rights to you if they want to prosecute you later. Knowing two crucial basics about your Miranda rights will protect you if police officers ever arrest you.
Know what rights you have
The reason police officers must inform you of your Miranda rights is so that you can make use of them during your encounter. The police need to inform you of your right to remain silent even if they want to ask questions.
You should also know about your right to an attorney before you speak with the police. Your right to know is so strong that if there is a language barrier, the police officers must provide you with a translator when they advise you of your Miranda rights.
Know when they need to tell you
People often understand that they can use an officer’s failure to provide the Miranda Warning as part of their defense strategy. However, many people misunderstand when the Miranda Warning is necessary.
If you were to go by what they show in movies, you would probably assume that the Miranda Warning occurs at the time of someone’s arrest. However, an officer only needs to provide the Miranda Warning when they intend to question someone in their custody.
Officers can question you while you are not under arrest without advising you of your Miranda rights, and they can arrest you without warning you of your Miranda rights provided they do not question you while you are in state custody.
If you find yourself questioned by the police without a prior Miranda Warning, then their failure could impact your defense. Learning more about your civil rights helps you plan a criminal defense strategy if you face significant criminal charges.