“You have the right to remain silent…” is arguably one of the most popular and well known legal phrases in the United states. These six words are the beginning of the Miranda Warning, which is used to inform criminal suspects who have been taken into custody of their Fifth Amendment rights to not make any self-incriminating statements along with their right to legal representation.
Occasionally, the question will arise if it’s ever appropriate to waive your Miranda Rights and under what circumstances this would equate to the best outcome. Here’s what you need to know about the protections provided by the Miranda Warning and how they can best serve you in a criminal case.
The Miranda Rights Defined
First, let’s begin by clarifying what exactly the Miranda Rights are. Stemming from the outcome of the 1966 case of Miranda Vs. Arizona, the Supreme Court ruled that a person must be first advised of certain rights before any statement made by them could be used against them in a criminal trial.
These rights are covered in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution and include the right to remain silent, notification that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law, the right to have an attorney present and that if the suspect cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for them.
Legally, an officer of the law must make a suspect aware of these rights before they can begin any type of questioning that concerns the suspect’s involvement in a criminal case.
Waiving Your Miranda Rights
A person who is being questioned as a suspect in a criminal case has the choice of either invoking their Miranda Rights or waiving them. Invoking them is as simple as requesting an attorney or stating that you’re not available to answer any questions until you speak to legal counsel.
Waiving, or giving up, your Miranda Rights can be done in one of two ways – express or implied. By expressly waiving your Miranda Rights, you either sign a form or verbally state that you’re aware of your protections under the Constitution, choose to waive those rights and that you understand the potential consequences of doing so.
Implied surrender of Miranda Rights simply means that no written or verbal affirmation was given, however it was clear that you were made aware of your rights and chose to answer questions anyway. Officers of the law will often attempt to get suspects to waive their rights in this way through specific questioning tactics.
Should You Ever Waive Your Miranda Rights?
The short answer to this question is no. Questioning officers will often try to take advantage of the fact that a suspect is nervous or scared, knowing that at this point they’re more likely to give details without considering the implications of their answers. Even seemingly benign questions involving a case can have a significant impact later down the road.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Lawyer
If you’re a suspect in a criminal case, you always have the right to have an attorney present. Experienced legal counsel will speak with you, look at the details of your case and guide you through police questioning. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and need legal representation, we’re the criminal defense attorneys that can help. Contact Elden Law today for free consultation.