Anyone who has ever watched a crime television show or movie is familiar with the Miranda rights in the country. A familiarity, though, does not always mean that people have a thorough understanding of what these rights entail, or when they apply. For example, contrary to what many people think, a police officer is not necessarily required to read your Miranda rights just because they have pulled you over. Below, our Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer outlines your rights, and when police officers are required to read them to you.
Understanding Your Miranda Rights
There are many constitutional rights included in the Miranda warning. The Miranda rights are named after the case Miranda v. Arizona, and while they do not establish any new rights, they do reinforce the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. The rights included in the Miranda warning are as follows:
- The right to remain silent: Many people think they are legally obligated to answer a police officer’s questions, but that is not true. People always have a right to remain silent when being questioned by an officer and it is usually the best course of action.
- Anything said can be used against you: It is important to remain silent during interactions with law enforcement because anything you do say can be used against you. Worse, officers also often take a defendant’s words out of context when using statements against them.
- The right to an attorney: Everyone in the country has the right to legal representation if they are charged with a crime.
- The right to have an attorney appointed to you: If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you have the right for the court to appoint one to you.
When Should Miranda Rights Be Read?
Police officers do not have to read people their Miranda rights in all situations. Two important prerequisites must be met before the reading of the Miranda warning is necessary. These are as follows:
- You must be in police custody: Being in police custody means that you are under the control of law enforcement and are not free to leave. For example, if a police officer simply stops you on the street and starts asking questions, there is no requirement for reading the Miranda rights because you are likely free to leave. If, on the other hand, you have been taken to the police station, you are likely in police custody.
- An interrogation must have started: Simply being in police custody is not enough to warrant the Miranda rights. The police or another law enforcement agency must be questioning you.
When the above two scenarios apply and law enforcement does not read your Miranda rights, it can serve as a valid defense in a criminal case.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Parish Can Advise You of Your Rights
If you have been charged with a crime, the first thing an Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer will do is determine if your rights were violated. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our seasoned attorney can advise you of your rights and if they were not upheld, use that fact to get important evidence in your case thrown out so you can beat the charges. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.