The Miranda warning is one of the legal protections that most people generally understand. The Miranda warning makes its way into many movies and television shows, so people are largely aware of its existence.
Most people know that police should provide them with the Miranda warning after an arrest. However, they may not fully understand what the Miranda warning means for their personal rights. The three crucial facts about the Miranda warning below may help people better assert their rights when facing arrest or prosecution.
When is the warning necessary?
Perhaps the most important effect to understand about the Miranda warning is when police officers must provide it. The movies and television shows that depict police officers providing the Miranda warning often show it as part of the arrest process. It is not necessary for someone to hear the Miranda warning at the time of their arrest. The Miranda warning is actually necessary prior to questioning while in state custody. Police officers do not need to provide the warning if they never question an individual after arresting them.
What does the warning involve?
Someone notified of their Miranda rights should receive verbal or potentially written information about three specific rights for criminal defendants. First and foremost, they need to know about their right to remain silent. They do not have an obligation to speak to the police while in state custody. Secondly, they need to know about their right to a lawyer. Having representation present when interacting with police people avoid mistakes and more effectively make use of their civil rights. Finally, the Miranda warning advises people of the rights of indigent defendants to receive no-cost representation if they cannot afford private legal support.
What does a violation mean?
Learning about these three rights is so important that interpreter services are mandatory if there is some kind of language barrier. If police officers arrest someone and question them without providing the Miranda warning, they have violated that individual’s rights. That mistake on the part of law enforcement can compromise the case that the state has against the defendant. Any statements made the police, including a confession, may be ineligible for use during prosecution because of the Miranda violation that occurred. An attorney can use the exclusionary rule to challenge the inclusion of statements made after police violated someone’s rights.
Understanding the rules that apply to the Miranda warning and how it affects a criminal case may benefit those accused of breaking the law.