If you are arrested, one of the most important things you need to remember is that you have the right to remain silent. While refusing entirely to speak to the police may not be rational in many situations, and may only serve to antagonize the situation, there are times when speaking out will hurt you in the long run.
Miranda Rights or Miranda “Warning”
When the police make an arrest, depending on the type of crime the suspect is being arrested for, they will likely read that suspect their Miranda rights or Miranda warning, which is as follows:
“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 an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
Miranda Warning is Read Before an Interrogation, Not Before all Arrests Such as DUIs
It is not necessary that the police read the Miranda warning upon arrest. Before an interrogation, however, an officer must read the Miranda warning to you in order to use anything that you say in a court of law. You can refuse to say anything, which is most often wise if you do not have a lawyer with you in the room at the time. If the police arrest you without reading your Miranda rights, and you say something to incriminate yourself, what you say can be dismissed. Similarly, if they arrest and then interrogate you without reading your Miranda rights, they cannot use what you say in a court of law. However, just because an officer does not read you these rights does not mean that you will be set free. While that is often depicted in movies, it is not reality. If you are arrested and the police do not read you your rights, you will almost certainly not be let off.
Miranda Warning is Not Read When You are Being Questioned Without Being Arrested
If the police have not arrested you and they wish to question you, they do not have to read you the Miranda warning in order to use what you say in court. You do not have to answer their questions, whether you have been arrested or are just being questioned. There is nothing a law enforcement agent can do to force you to answer their questions.
Why Remaining Silent is Best
Even if you are completely innocent, remaining silent and politely asking for an attorney is the best practice. If you are being interrogated by the police, they are looking for any evidence or anything that you say to tie you to the crime. The Fifth Amendment serves to protect people from incriminating themselves: “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” and we highly recommend taking advantage of this right.
Contact an West Palm Beach Attorney
If you have been charged with any type of crime, contact the West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of Skier Law Firm today at (561) 220-3355 Our dedicated legal team can assist you today.