Anyone who has watched a TV police show may think they get what the Miranda “right to remain silent” rights are all about. However, exercising the protections provided for in Miranda rights can be a lot more complicated. If you are arrested, and law enforcement wants to question you, you could be in some deep trouble if you aren’t sure just what those rights mean for you. A felony lawyer in Oakland, California knows it’s critical for people to understand their rights.
Arizona vs. Miranda
A landmark 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, Arizona vs. Miranda, was responsible for establishing Miranda rights. After Ernesto Miranda, the plaintiff, confessed to robbery, kidnapping, and rape charges, the high court tossed out his confession as evidence after it was shown that he was not aware of his rights. As a result, he made self-incriminating statements. That court’s ruling now requires law enforcement officers to inform arrested people of specific facts:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Your words or actions may be used against you in court
- You have the right to speak to a lawyer
- If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be provided for you
When do Miranda rights come into play?
Police officers do not have to advise you of your Miranda rights until you are in custody. If they just want to talk to you and ask a few questions, you are likely not in custody. Some police personnel will tell suspects whether they are in custody or not. Others will say nothing in the hopes of getting you to “spill the beans.” This is something you need to know, as officers often use this method to see if they can get information that can be used against you later on. Officers are well aware that once an individual is arrested, he or she is less likely to talk.
Being silent is not necessarily seen as invoking your rights
Once you are “Mirandized” (read your rights), you must communicate to law enforcement officers that you intend to exercise them and ask to speak with an Oakland, CA felony lawyer. In some cases, prosecutors can use a person’s silence against him or her. It’s crucial that you understand that it’s okay to go back on your initial agreement to waive your Miranda rights and talk to the officers. Even if you waive them at first, you can change your mind later and tell the officers that you have decided to exercise your rights. Then you won’t have to answer any other questions and can ask to see an attorney. Moreover, anytime you wish, you can invoke your Fifth Amendment rights against incriminating yourself.
Understanding what your rights are is essential for your defense
If you have been arrested or the police want to talk to you about a crime, you need someone at your side to look out for your rights and best interests. It’s essential that you speak up and invoke your right to have a felony lawyer from Oakland, CA present before any type of questioning takes place. Remember, the police are skilled at manipulating a situation to get the information they want. You have to be one step ahead.
If you need criminal defense, Hallinan Law Firm can provide you with an experienced and highly capable felony lawyer Oakland, CA clients trust. Call our office today.