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Miranda Rights

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Anyone who has watched a police television show has heard Miranda rights being read to a person. However, many people may not know exactly what they include or when they apply. The Supreme Court created Miranda rights in the court case of Miranda v. Arizona. Each defendant must be advised of the following items:

  • A person has the right to remain silent
  • Anything that an offender says can and will be used against him in a court of law
  • Each offender has the right to an attorney
  • If a person cannot afford an attorney, the state will provide an attorney
  • If a person asks for an attorney during police interrogation, the questioning must stop until an attorney appears

While the substance of all Miranda warnings are the same, the police do not have to recite the rights in any particular order or with any particular word choice. Further, most officers will ask offenders if they understand the Miranda warnings.

Application of Miranda Rights

The police do not automatically advise offenders of their Miranda rights. Before the rights actually apply to a situation, an offender must be in police custody.

A person is in “police custody” when the police deprives him or her of freedom in a significant way. Practically, a person is considered to be in police custody at the time of arrest. An actual arrest must take place for Miranda rights to apply.

Police Interrogation

Miranda warnings apply only when an individual is being interrogated. An interrogation means that the police are specifically asking questions about a crime and a person’s involvement in that crime. General questions such as, “How are you?” do not count as interrogation. Further, the police asking for identification is not considered a component of interrogation.

If a person is being interrogated while in police custody, and an officer fails to advise Miranda rights, nothing that the offender says may be used against him in court.

For a more complete understanding of Miranda Rights and their usage, contact Brett Podolsky today at 713-227-0087.

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