The Miranda Warning, also known as Miranda Rights, is something you are likely familiar with thanks to television shows and movies. The Supreme Court does not specify the exact wording of these rights, although law enforcement agencies have established a basic set of simple statements to be read to accused individuals prior to questioning.
These statements are:
- You have a right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have a right to have an attorney present both before and during questioning.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
- If you choose to answer questions now without an attorney present, you have the right to stop answering at any time until you speak with an attorney.
Origins: Miranda v. Arizona
Ernesto Miranda was suspected of kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old woman in 1963. He was brought in for questioning, and later signed a confession to the crime. Miranda was not told that he could have an attorney present or that he did not have to speak. Miranda’s attorney attempted to get the confession thrown out at trial. Unfortunately, the motion was denied.
In 1966, the Miranda Rights were created as a result of the Miranda v. Arizona case of the United States Supreme Court. This warning was created to protect a suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse questions that may be self-incriminating. Statements made to the police could not be considered evidence, as Miranda was not advised of his rights.
Miranda was given a second trial, in which his signed confession was not presented as evidence. Based on the existing evidence, however, he was once again convicted of rape and kidnapping.
Failure to Be Given Miranda Rights
If a suspect in custody is questioned without being given the Miranda Warning, any confession or statement made is assumed to be involuntary. This confession or statement cannot be used against the suspect in a criminal case. Evidence that may have been discovered as a result of the confession or statement may likely be thrown out of the case.
However, if an individual is not in police custody, a Miranda Warning is not required. In this situation, anything the individual says can be used in trial if he or she is later charged with a crime.
Berguis v. Thompkins
In 2010, a decision made by the Supreme Court of the United States on the Berguis v. Thompkins case basically stated that Miranda Warnings were dead.
The conclusion of the decision is that an individual must state his or her rights to the police officer in order to have them. One must say, “I have the right to remain silent” or “I would like an attorney”.
The Court carefully studied the position of a suspect who, based on Miranda v. Arizona, understands the right to remain silent. The suspect is aware of the right to remain silent, but does not openly waive or invoke this right.
The Court then held that until and unless the suspect explicitly states that he or she was relying on that right, then the police could continue to interview the suspect and any of the suspect’s succeeding voluntary statements could be used in court later on.
Have you been charged with DWI?
Have you recently been charged with DWI? Did the arresting officer read you your Miranda Rights? Regardless, if they did or didn’t, you should immediately contact an experienced DWI attorney. If you’re from the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area then call Douglas T. Kans of the Kans Law Firm at (952) 835-6314 or (888) 972-6060.