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You have the right to remain silent..so use it!

"You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.  You have the right to have an attorney and have that attorney present with you during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. You can decide at any time to exercise these right and refuse to answer any questions or make any statements."
 
What you have just read is commonly known as the "Miranda" warning. The purpose of this warning is inform you that you are not required to talk to the police and that you have the right to legal counsel. Suspects often assume that an arrest was inappropriate or that criminal charges can be dismissed if an officer fails to read the Miranda warning. Not true.

The Miranda warning must be given if the officer intends to interrogate the suspect while the suspect is in custody.  If the officer doesn't question the suspect after the arrest, the Miranda warning isn't required. Furthermore, if you are not in custody then the officer isn't necessarily required to read you your rights.  

So how does this work in real life?  Here are just a few examples...

A police officer pulls you over for speeding.  After asking for your drivers license, he asks "do you have any illegal drugs in your car?"  You reply, "Yes officer, I have a meth lab in my trunk."  In this instance, a Miranda warning wasn't required and your statement regarding the meth lab in the trunk is admissable (along with the meth lab itself). Why? The Miranda warning wasn't required because you were not in custody. You can be arrested at this point and the officer never has to read you your rights.

Second example. This time you are pulled over for speeding and you have had a few too many.  The officer notices all of the tell-tale signs of intoxication, puts you through the field sobriety tests (you fail them - even sober people fail them), and arrests you for DWI. Once you are handcuffed and put in the police car, the officer says "how much did you drink tonight?"  You respond, "Officer, I did so many shots I can't remember". The officer then gives the Miranda warning upon booking you in at the police station.

Can this incriminating statement be excluded? Yes. Why? You were in police custody when you were subjected to questioning. Will the entire case be thrown out?  Doubtful.  A Miranda violation doesn't necessarily mean that the charge itself can't stick. Usually it means that any statements or evidence obtained in violation of your rights cannot be used against you.  

The purpose of the Miranda warning is to remind people that they don't have to speak with the police and answer potentially incriminating questions, especially if they are a suspect or have been arrested.  It is based on the 5th Amendment's right against self-incrimination and is one the hallmarks of our free society.  Requiring citizens to answer questions and give statements when they are facing police scrutiny is a common characteristic of authoritarian governments.  

A few tips to remember:

1.  You are always better off NOT speaking to the police.  When in doubt, shut your mouth.

2.  You cannot get in trouble for exercising your 5th amendment right.  

3.  Don't get tricked by promises of leniency. Police are allowed to mislead you during questioning.  


4.  Don't think you are charming or eloquent enough to talk a trained police officer out of arresting you. You're not. You will only make things worse.

The attorneys of Glaus & Gohn L.C. hope you find this information informative and useful.  It is our aim to continue to provide you with relevant legal information so that you can make informed decisions to protect your rights.  Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns. 

 

Comments 1 Rating: Rated 4 star by 2 people.
COMMENTS
Justin Sniadecki AUGUST 16 2018
My experience with Gordon Glaus was that he was very Prompt, Aggressive, Caring ,and made a Bad situation Feel comfortable! Gordon is not afraid to work that is for sure or attack a Police officer on the Stand
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