Understanding the Miranda Rights  

       Custody is a situation in which a person’s freedom of movement is restricted and he is no longer free to just walk away. Routine traffic stops and police encounters do not qualify as custody. Interrogation is the questioning of the accused by an officer of the law enforcement or any other action by the police which is intended to elicit an inculpating response. Reading out the Miranda rights in such situations is essential.

       The Miranda warnings are essentially a person’s rights under the Fifth Amendment of the constitution which the police is obliged to read to the suspect before he issubject to interrogation in police custody.

       The warnings essentially are:

  • The person has the right to stay silent.
  • The person has the right to legal representation through an attorney, who has to be present when the person is being questioned. In case the person cannot afford an attorney, then he or she will be provided one at the government's expense.
  • Anything you say or do will be provided as evidence against you.

 

       Once the accused expresses his desire for a counsel there can be no further interrogation. If the defendant voluntarily waives his rights which he may do either verbally or in writing or impliedly then the warnings need not be read to him. Confessions are written on forms which have pre-printed Miranda waiver clauses on them and therefore suspects should not sign on any form without conferring with their attorney.

       These warnings are essentially to prevent the suspect or the person arrested from self-incriminating himself or herself. The Miranda Rights were made mandatory bythe Supreme Court in 1966 after the Miranda Vs Arizona case. Any statements purportedly made by the suspect in custodial interrogation without the Miranda warnings being read to him or her are inadmissible as evidence in court.

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Understanding the Miranda Rights
 

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