Few legal rights are more misunderstood than the Miranda Rights that protect those under arrest in the United States. Miranda Rights are well-known in part because they frequently feature in movies and television shows involving the criminal justice system.
Being aware of your rights is a good thing, but learning about your civil rights from the media might mean that you don’t really understand them. Knowing what constitutes a violation of your Miranda Rights is crucial if you want that violation to have an influence on your defense strategy.
What are the rights included in the Miranda Warning?
There are essentially two main rights discussed in the Miranda Warning. The first is the right to remain silent. Those under arrest do not have to speak to the police or answer their questions.
Officers need to warn individuals that what they say could affect their case in court. Additionally, officers should tell someone that they have the right to an attorney, even if they cannot afford one on their own.
When must an officer inform you of your rights?
A lot of people assume that an officer violated their rights because they didn’t recite the Miranda Warning immediately when they place that individual under arrest. However, you don’t need the Miranda Warning at the time of your arrest.
Instead, officers must inform you of your Miranda Rights before they formally question you after arresting you. If they don’t question you, they may never advise you of your rights. Additionally, they don’t have to tell you your rights if they start talking to you before they arrest you until they place you under arrest and continue questioning you.
Pushing you to talk to them while under arrest and not advising you of your right to have a lawyer present would be a violation of your Miranda Rights. The same is true of assuming that silence means you choose to waive your rights or not providing translation services for the Miranda Warning when there is a notable language barrier.
You need to know and be aware of your rights to assert them during an encounter with law enforcement officers. Understanding what constitutes a violation of the Miranda Rights can help someone plan for their defense against pending criminal charges.