Understanding Your Miranda Rights
If you’ve been arrested, you need to know that it is your right—and the smart thing to do—to keep mum, quiet, or shush (that means shut your mouth) until you have an attorney by your side. In fact, if law enforcement intends to interrogate you, whether or not they intend to arrest you—you must be Mirandized—or notified of your rights. This is intended to protect a defendant’s 5thAmendment right not to incriminate oneself. We at Salazar and Kelly Law Group, P.A. have provided these Miranda Warnings to you, just in case you have forgotten
“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 provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
These are the precise words that must be stated, in a language you understand. You must give a verbal confirmation that you understand these rights and are willing to talk to officers before any interrogation or questioning occurs. If you indicate you wish to remain silent, you cannot legally be interrogated and if you are illegally interrogated, your confession may not be used against you in court.
While it is incumbent upon officers to protect your 5thAmendment rights against self-incrimination, there are limits to those protections:
There are some key things that defendants must share with officers upon request, such as name, address, birth date, and so forth. This type of identifying information is considered standard booking questioning, and not interrogation. Defendants may also be searched in order to ensure the safety of the officers involved.
In the event public safety is a concern, defendants may be questioned. That means if you are suspected of, say, planting a bomb somewhere that could cause public harm, you can be questioned about it.
Jailhouse informants are sometimes used to gather information. If you make confessions to a snitch, the information may be used against you. Likewise, if you spill your guts to an undercover officer, Miranda will not protect you, because you’re not under arrest, and you’re not being interrogated. It would be more problematic for prosecutors, if an undercover officer were to be placed in your jail cell to glean information from you.
If you freely choose to discuss matters with law enforcement, whatever you say could come up again and be used to put you behind bars. That’s why it’s important to exercise your right and wait for legal representation before saying anything that might lead to future problems.
Using Your Words Against You
Law enforcement officers are obliged to protect your rights, even if they believe you are guilty of a crime. In the event they do not, it’s possible to block any information they garner through illegal means. If you find yourself facing potential criminal liability, the best thing you can do is cooperate, but invoke your Miranda rights. Then contact the experienced Kissimmee criminal attorneys at the Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.