What Are Miranda Rights and How Do They Apply?

Miranda rights are those rights recited to suspects before they are arrested. The main purpose of these rights is to properly notify the accused of his arrest and to inform him about the admissibility of evidence that will be gathered afterwards. Knowing and understanding the Miranda rights are essential in every criminal case. Criminal defense lawyers, such as those from the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing, are the perfect people to consult regarding such matters.

The Miranda rights are named after the case where such rights were first enunciated – Miranda v. Arizona. However, these rights are actually enshrined in the Fifth Amendment. The following are some of the rights customarily recited by police officers and other peacekeeping officials:

  1. You have the right to remain silent.
  2. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law (right against self-incrimination).
  3. You have the right to an attorney  to be present before and after the questioning (right to counsel).
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, we can provide one for you.

The Miranda rights should be recited to the suspect in a language known to him. The words should also be simple and clear for easy understanding. It is also essential that the police officer asks the accused if he or she understands the aforementioned rights. The police should then ask if the accused is ready to talk to them after knowing said rights.

It is important to note these rights only arise when the accused is taken into custodial interrogation or custodial investigation. During this phase, the investigation of the police becomes accusatorial. The line of questioning of the police is no longer general but focuses on a particular suspect.

To reiterate, the Miranda rights come into play in determining the admissibility of evidence, particularly testimonial evidence. For the Fifth Amendment to be invoked in a criminal proceeding, the following requisites must be present:

  1. The evidence must be gathered.
  2. The evidence must be testimonial in nature.
  3. The evidence must have been obtained during custodial interrogation or custodial investigation.
  4. The evidence must have been obtained through questioning or interrogation.
  5. The evidence must have been gathered by police or other state agents.
  6. The evidence must be presented and offered during criminal proceedings.

If all the requisites are present, the Fifth Amendment can be invoked, unless it is shown that the Miranda rights were properly read and/or recited to the accused.

It is also important to note there are certain exceptions to the Miranda rights. It is not always imperative that the Miranda warning be read to every accused. Under the American jurisdiction, the following are some of the exceptions:

  1. Jailhouse informant search
  2. Routine booking questioning
  3. Public safety exception

To question the admissibility of testimonial evidence that is in violation of the Miranda rights, criminal defense lawyers, such as those from the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing, must file a motion in writing stating the facts and legal grounds as to why said testimonial evidence must be excluded or suppressed. The said motion must be filed before the court trying the case and served against the State.

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