A detention or an arrest occurs when a police officer deprives a person (suspect) of freedom. This can occur whether the person is is out on the scene of a crime, or in jail.
After an arrest police will commonly question the suspect. However, the suspect has two rights granted by the U.S. Constitution:
1. Right to Remain Silent (5th Amendment).
2. Right to Have a Lawyer Present During the Questioning (6th Amendment).
The Miranda warnings were born out of these two rights granted by the U.S. Constitution. When you are placed in custody you may voluntarily give up these rights, but courts have long recognized that people held in custody lack free will and knowledge therefore police officers who wish to question a suspect must provide that suspect with cautions, or advice them of the rights they are forfeiting and this warning is known as the "Miranda Warning."
After a police officer deprives a person of freedom Miranda is activated and the officer must provide the following statement:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can be used against you.
- You have a right to consult with an attorney and have that attorney present during questioning.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you.
- If you decide to talk to the police, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.
If the police do not read the Miranda warning nothing the suspect says to the police during questioning can be used against the suspect at trial. This can be extremely important in a criminal case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to identify whether this is an issue that could help you defend your case.
***The information in this blog entry does not constitute legal advice.