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Attorney Christopher T. Adams

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What criminal defendants should know about the Miranda Warning

Many of your most important civil rights only matter when dealing with state authorities, like the police. Some of these rights are the direct result of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, while others are the result of prior court rulings.

The Miranda Warning is possibly one of the best-known civil protections for those accused of a crime, and it exists because of a federal Supreme Court ruling. Almost everyone who has watched a movie featuring police officers has seen a dramatic representation of the Miranda Warning.

Police officers on TV shows and in movies frequently rattle off the Miranda Warning as they put someone in handcuffs or place them in a police cruiser. What you see in the media is not always an accurate representation of what you should expect in the real world. There are two important details about the Miranda Warning that you need to know when dealing with the police.

A Miranda Warning isn’t necessary during your arrest

One of the most common misconceptions about the Miranda Warning is the mistaken belief that a police officer must provide the warning verbally when they initially arrest somebody. However, the warning is specifically about the rights of an individual subject to questioning while in police custody.

Therefore, it is only necessary for officers to advise people of their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney prior to questioning them after their arrest. Police officers can talk to someone not yet in their custody without providing the Miranda Warning, and they can arrest someone without questioning them and never issue the Miranda Warning.

Miranda violations may affect the evidence against you

If you understand when officers should advise you of your Miranda protections and you believe that there was a violation of your rights, discussing what occurred during and after your arrest with the criminal defense attorney can be a very wise choice.

If a violation did occur, your attorney can advise the courts of the situation and potentially challenge the inclusion of any evidence obtained during inappropriate or illegal questioning. The option of suppressing a confession or statements that would make you look bad in court can help you successfully defend against pending criminal charges.

Knowing your Miranda rights and speaking up when police officers violate them can protect you when you face criminal charges.


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