In 1966, the United States Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in the case of Miranda v. Arizona when it made a decision on how suspects are to be informed of their constitutional rights when they are arrested on felony or misdemeanor charges. Ernesto Miranda was arrested in 1963 on suspicion of kidnapping and rape. After a long interrogation, Miranda confessed to the charges and signed a statement that his confession was made willingly and knowingly and that he understood his legal rights. When his case went to trial, his lawyers discovered that he had not, in fact, been informed of his constitutional rights to remain silent, to be represented by a lawyer, and to have that lawyer present during the interrogation. This Supreme Court ruling is one of the most famous cases in U.S. history, and it has changed the way arrests and interrogations have been handled ever since.
Miranda Rights Are Constitutional Rights
Because of Miranda v. Arizona, police officers are required to inform you of your rights before they begin an interrogation. Though some police departments may use different wording, the basis of the statements must be the same. Most police departments will use a version of the following: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand the rights that I have just read to you?” It must be established that the suspect is aware of his or her rights before any interrogation can occur.
Misconceptions About Miranda Rights
The point of the Miranda Warning is to inform suspects of the rights that are granted to them by the United States Constitution. This includes the right to protection against self-incrimination and the right to legal counsel. Some people have misunderstandings about their Miranda rights and what that means for their criminal cases....