Understanding Your Miranda Rights and How They Affect a Criminal Case

Posted on in Criminal Law

Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney Miranda rightsIn 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.

Unlike what you may see on TV shows, you do not have to be informed of your Miranda rights until you are in police custody and about to be interrogated. Police officers are not required to inform you of these rights immediately after you are arrested; they only have to make sure that you are aware of them before you are questioned.

The police can still ask you certain questions before you have been informed of your Miranda Rights. For example, if the police ask for your name, address, or any other identifying information, you must answer them.

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Criminal Law Attorney

The U.S. Constitution is the backbone of our country’s laws. Even if you are not informed of your Miranda rights, as an American citizen, you still retain all of the rights that the Constitution awards you. If you were questioned by police, and you were not informed of your constitutional rights, you need to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer right away. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law can help you build your case against the police department, and he may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed because of the violation of your rights. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation by calling 847-253-3400.