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Jun
10

SUPREME COURT REINTERPRETS MIRANDA WARNING

A suspect, upon arrest, has the right to remain silent. As such, her or she does not have to speak to law enforcement officers. That means, the suspect does not have to answer any questions. Miranda warnings apply when a suspect is in custody (not free to leave) and questioned. At that point, law enforcement must provide the warning.
The law now requires the defendant to specifically invoke the right to remain silent. “A suspect who has received and understood the Miranda warnings and has not invoked his Miranda Rights waives the right to remain silent by making an uncoerced statement to police,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court.
Your rights
“You have the right to remain silent.”
“Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
“You have a right to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions and you have the right to have a lawyer present with you while you are answering any questions.”
“If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning, if you wish.”
“You have the right to decide at any time before or during questioning to use your right to remain silent and your right to talk with a lawyer while you are being questioned.”
The ruling was taken from a case in Michigan where a male suspect under investigation for murder was silent for three hours until he was asked if he had prayed for forgiveness of the shooting, to which he replied “yes.” The suspect attempted to overturn the ruling, saying that he had previously pleaded the Fifth and never waived his right to silence.
Law enforcement typically uses a written Miranda form when interrogating a suspect. It’s important that the defendant read and sign the form invoking their right to remain silent. It’s important that a defendant not speak to law enforcement and that they specifically invoke their right to remain silent and request to speak to their attorney. We have seen too many cases where defendants believe they can help themselves by speaking to police only to have it twisted around and used against them in court. Bottom line: Keep mouth shut. Invoke right to remain silent. Request lawyer.

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