Silence, Not Honesty, is the Best Policy

Although you may never have heard the phrase “Miranda rights”, you are probably familiar with your Miranda rights if you have ever watched a criminal law television show. The police officer on the show will quickly mumble the words, but they can mean a lot for your individual rights. The Miranda rights are:

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?

Your Miranda rights must be read to you before you are interrogated while you are in police custody. If your Miranda rights are not read to you before you are interrogated while in custody, your answers to the questions asked to you by police officers typically will not be able to be held against you in court. If your Miranda rights are read to you, if you do not invoke them, anything you say from that point on can be used against you in court.

To invoke your Miranda rights, all you have to do is say “I wish to remain silent” or “I would like to speak to an attorney.” It is important to say the words that you want to remain silent, rather than simply remaining silent. Once you have invoked your right to remain silent, the police must stop questioning you for fourteen days. After fourteen days have passed, the police must read you your Miranda rights again before they can begin questioning you again. After they have read you your rights again, you may invoke your right to an attorney or your right to remain silent again. Once you have invoked your right to speak with an attorney, the police may not question you until your attorney is present.

Understanding these rights can offer you a layer of protection that others may not know they have. Invoking your Miranda rights can prevent your words from being used in a way that could be harmful to you later. When you invoke your right to an attorney, call the Dobson Law Firm and we will be happy to assist you in your criminal law matter. If you believe that police officers violated your Miranda rights when you were in police custody, your next step should be to consult with an attorney on how to proceed.

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