“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 a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you wish.”
If you are a fan of police procedural shows such as Law & Order, this is not the first time you have encountered this language. Known as the “Miranda” warning, it lays out the rights of those who have been placed under police custody.
It gets its name from the Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. The language of the Miranda decision borrowed heavily from a thesis laid out by law professor Yale Kamisar, who died on January 30 at the age of 92. As reported by The Washington Post, he was dubbed the “father of Miranda”.
This seems like an appropriate time to take a closer look at Miranda and what it means for you if you find yourself in police custody.
When Miranda Warning Must Be Read
Miranda rights do not have to be read every time you interact with a police officer, investigator or other law enforcement officer. For example, an officer who pulls you over on the highway or knocks on your door at home does not have to read your Miranda rights to you.
Miranda is required to be read when you are placed into police custody and police interrogate you. This is the type of situation you are likely familiar with from watching the aforementioned television programs.
Failure to Read Miranda Warning Is Not Game Over for the Prosecution
Do not assume that your case will be thrown out if they failed to read your Miranda warning. It could become a crucial issue in your case or it may turn out to be nothing but an unfortunate footnote. Any time you are placed under arrest or have reason to believe you are under investigation, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney working to limit your exposure to criminal penalties.