Toms River Criminal Defense: Miranda Warnings

You’ve heard them before. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Typically, individuals believe that a police officer is required to provide every citizen whom they stop or with whom they speak their Miranda warnings. However, that is not accurate. The Supreme Court has outlined who needs to be informed of these rights and when.

While, Miranda warnings are named for the famous Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, the rights do not have their start in that case. Rather, the protections that we refer to as the Miranda rights are constitutional rights which the court decided needed to be provided to certain persons in law enforcement custody.

The exact constitutional limitations that are regularly known as the Miranda rights include the right to remain silent, the right against self incrimination and the right to an attorney during questioning and in court. The court also decided that the warnings contain at least the same level of specificity as it set out in its ruling and that the warnings be meaningful for the persons being questioned.

Some states add additional warnings to the typical Miranda statements that they think are important for the people in their communities. For example, some border states require law enforcement to tell detainees that if they are not U.S. citizens that they have the right to contact their country’s consulate.

The Miranda freedoms need to be spoken by a law enforcement official to an individual who is a criminal suspect and in police custody before they begin to question the detainee about the circumstances surrounding the legal matter. The person is considered to be in state custody if a reasonable woman would believe that his or her freedom to leave is restrained, regardless of whether the officers have formerly arrested the person.

To allow incriminating evidence admissible at trial, officers need to provide the individual with his or her Miranda warnings prior to finding the evidence. A man who is in police custody must be informed of their rights preceding any police questioning. If the person is arrested and the officers do not intend to question the person then the Miranda warnings do not have to be provided.