Miranda rights -- also known as a Miranda warning -- are rights derived from the 1966 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. At issue was whether or not the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination extends to the police interrogation of a suspect. In this case, Ernesto Miranda was arrested and interrogated for two hours before he confessed. His confession was used to convict him. The U.S. Supreme Court decided his rights had been violated and then outlined what those rights are:
- A defendant must be warned before questioning that he has the right to remain silent and that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law.
- A defendant must be told that he has the right to an attorney and if he cannot afford an attorney, one was to be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desired.
The Court felt that after such warnings are given, the suspect can then knowingly and intelligently waive his rights and agree to answer questions -- if he so chooses. Any evidence obtained from an interrogation can also not be used unless the prosecutor demonstrates the warnings were given and the suspect knowingly and intelligently waived his rights.
As such, Miranda Rights are critical to your arrest and overall criminal case. Your criminal defense attorney can identify if your right to a Miranda warning has been violated. And if it turns out that there was a violation, then your attorney can respond appropriately and according to the circumstances. It is, therefore, important to retain an experienced, knowledgeable LA criminal defense attorney with the insight and skill to challenge any violation of your rights.
William S. Kroger defends clients because it is his belief you deserve quality, fierce representation. Besides, it is also your constitutional right: to defend yourself. And you can do so with a competent, effective criminal defense lawyer. Contact William S. Kroger today for a free consultation -- the sooner you do, the sooner he can begin reviewing your case and defending your rights. In the meantime, here's what you should know about Miranda Rights.
What Do Miranda Rights Mean to You & Your Arrest in Los Angeles?
Police are allowed to lie and use tricks to persuade and induce suspects to talk. That becomes a little harder to do once a suspect is informed of his rights and has an attorney beside him. That's the importance of your Miranda rights: protection from self-incrimination.
Miranda rights inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney. Those are two very important elements of your defense.
- It is almost always important to remain silent and not speak with the police because you may slip up. You are scared and nervous, and words may come out without you thinking them through. The police may start slow, acting like they want to help you, and then once the information starts pouring out of your mouth, they become more aggressive and threatening so as to scare you into talking.
- It is also almost always important to retain an effective criminal defense attorney, someone who can outline your case for you, identify key issues, move forward strategically and skillfully, and keep you informed throughout the criminal court process. But most importantly, the attorney can speak for you or support and guide you when you do speak. There is no need to fear the lies and threats of the police when you have competent counsel representing you.
Being informed also means understanding what Miranda Rights really mean. There are four main points mentioned in the warning. How those points can impact your case is explained below.
Point 1: You have the right to remain silent.
The Fifth Amendment gives you the right not to incriminate yourself. That means you can remain silent. Your silence cannot be used as a consciousness of guilt. This right extends to trial as well, where you and your attorney may find it best for you not to take the stand. But before trial, but after your arrest, it is in your best interests to remain silent.
Point 2: Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
This means exactly what it says. Anything you utter can be used against -- and likely will -- to influence the jury and prove your guilt. But what can also be used against you is your behavior. What the officer observes in some cases can be used -- so be mindful of that as well because there is no protection against your behavior.
Point 3: You have the right to an attorney.
You have the right to choose any attorney you want. Be mindful, however, that not all attorneys are alike. There are general practitioners who do not focus solely on criminal defense and therefore may not be as well-versed in the law as you would prefer or need. There are other attorneys who focus only on criminal defense but go for the plea deals rather than go to trial, and this could mean the attorney is not looking out for your best interests. Though you have a right to an attorney, you do not have a right to the best attorney for you. Hiring an attorney in Los Angeles is solely up to you.
Point 4: If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
If you cannot afford an attorney, it is your right to have one provided to you. But you are required to complete a financial statement first to determine whether or not you can afford a private attorney. You will also have to pay a $50.00 registration fee -- though representation will not be denied if you cannot afford the fee.
Two Things to Remember about Your Miranda Rights
Even if you choose to speak to the police after the warning has been read to you, keep these two things in mind:
- You can stop talking at any time -- just because you began talking doesn't mean you have to keep talking (or answering questions.
- You can request an attorney at any time -- just because you did not invoke that right initially does not prevent you from requesting it later.
When Don't Miranda Rights Apply in California?
As above-mentioned, the police are required to read you your Miranda rights anytime after you are arrested but always before you are interrogated or before the police intend to interrogate you -- whether that is at the place of the arrest or at the police station.
The police do not have to read you your rights at these times:
- When the police first stop you for questioning, e.g., at a traffic stop;
- When the police are investigating a potential crime, e.g., a DUI investigation;
- When the police first arrest you and take you into custody but before interrogation; and
- When you are being booked and asked demographic and personal information, like your name, your address, your date of birth, your profession, etc.
What can you Expect if Your Miranda Rights are Violated in California?
If the police do not read your Miranda rights or do not do so timely, then -- unlike what is popularly believed -- your case will not be dismissed automatically. It will, however, benefit you so long as the attorney you retain identifies the issue and responds accordingly.
If you believe -- especially after reading this article -- that your Miranda rights were violated, then advise your attorney immediately. William S. Kroger will review the facts and evidence and determine which statements were made by you while not under the protection of the Miranda warning. He will then file a motion to have those statements excluded from court as evidence. If the judge grants the motion, the statements cannot be used against you and the jury will likely never hear them.
After the statements are deemed inadmissible as evidence, a few things could happen:
- The State's case may be so weakened that it drops the charges;
- The State's case may be weakened that it reduces the charges;
- The State's case may still be strong enough that the prosecutor feels he can still pursue the charges.
With a skilled Miranda Rights attorney in Los Angeles, you can expect a thorough, smart, and aggressive defense that considers all angles of your case -- including violations to your rights. There are no guarantees that a rights violation will move the case always in your favor, but the point is to make sure any violation is appropriately and strategically addressed to maximize your chances of a positive outcome.
Retain a Skilled, Resourceful L.A. County Criminal Defense Lawyer
William S. Kroger has been defending clients for 20 years. He knows that hiring the right criminal defense attorney is what makes the difference in your case, especially when there are questions of your rights being violated by the police. If you have been arrested and believe your rights have been violated, contact William S. Kroger today. His legal team is prepared to begin work on your case today. Fighting for our client's respect, rights, and freedom is what we do. Contact us online or at 323-655-5700