The United States Constitution provides individuals in this country with specific rights. The first 10 Amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment outlines certain rights for people who are being interrogated by the police.
The Supreme Court enumerated these rights in case of Miranda v. Arizona. Police officers must inform you of your “Miranda rights” if you are in custody and you are being interrogated. Everyone should remember these specific points about these rights.
#1: You must invoke your rights
You must make it clear that you’re invoking your rights. It isn’t enough to just remain quiet. Instead, you must make a statement to police that leaves no doubt that you want to invoke your rights. Some examples include:
- I invoke my Miranda rights.
- I choose to remain silent.
- I want to speak to my attorney.
- I won’t answer questions without talking to my lawyer.
The key point is that you must make it completely clear that you do not wish to speak to police officers or answer any questions.
#2: Questioning must cease entirely
Once you invoke your Miranda rights, police officers must completely stop questioning. The invocation applies to ALL questioning. They cannot call new officers in to start the interrogation again. Any attempts to continue questioning are considered violations of your rights.
#3: Guilt cannot be presumed
Invoking your Miranda rights cannot be considered an admission of guilt. Instead, it can only be viewed as a person using the rights that are provided by law. Even a person who is innocent should be able to speak to their legal representative before answering any questions.
Anyone who is facing criminal charges should ensure they evaluate all options for a defense. Doing this as early in the case as possible is crucial. Part of the defense strategy you use may include bringing up violations of your rights. Working with someone who can help you determine how to proceed is beneficial.