Invoking Your Miranda Rights If Arrested In California
What Is A Miranda Warning?
A Miranda warning notifies you – the person who is under arrest and suspected of committing a crime – that you have the right to remain silent, that your statements can be used against you if you are charged with an offense, and that you have a right to have an attorney assist you before and during police questioning. This warning must be read to you by the police if you are in their custody and about to be interrogated. One of the main purposes of a Miranda warning is to ensure that the police do not coerce you or force you into a confession. Here’s an example of what the police might say to you after arresting you:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything that you say can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have your lawyer present for questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, then one will be appointed for you to represent you before and during questioning.”
It is important to understand that the police are only required to read you a Miranda warning if you are both in their custody and subject to a police interrogation. What that means is that simply being under arrest does not require the police to read you a Miranda warning. This is where real life and Hollywood diverge.
Simply blurting out incriminating statements, even while under arrest, does not trigger a Miranda warning. The police must actively be asking you questions concerning a criminal matter. Additionally, merely being called to the police station for questioning may not trigger a Miranda warning.
When Police Don’t Read You A Miranda Warning, What Happens?
What happens if you are in police custody while being interrogated and the police do not read you a Miranda warning? In that scenario, the law provides that any incriminating statements that you make cannot be used against you during a criminal proceeding.
If you are not made aware of your right to refuse to answer questions and your right to have an attorney present during questioning, then there is nothing to prevent the police from forcing a confession out of you. In fact, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that at no time can you be forced to make statements that will incriminate yourself. What this means is that at all times, you have the affirmative right to remain silent. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty and you are under no obligation to speak to the police at any time. It is the burden of the government to prove their case – you have no duty to assist them in doing so.
When You Assert Your Miranda Rights, The Police Must Stop All Questioning
If at any time you tell the police that you do not want to answer their questions or would like your attorney present, then the police must cease all questions. If they continue to question you after you have asserted your Miranda rights, then any incriminating statements that you provide may be excluded from use at your criminal trial. In other words, the prosecutor handling your case may be barred from using those statements against you in a criminal proceeding.
It is important to remember that you always have the option of waiving a Miranda warning and submitting to police questioning. While this is not advised, many people opt to waive their rights and answer the questions asked by the police. In these cases, the police typically will have you sign a document indicating that they read you a Miranda warning and that you do not object to the interrogation. Additionally, many police interrogations are videotaped. In those situations, you will typically be read a Miranda warning on camera, and the entire interrogation will be videotaped.
Hiring A California Lawyer To Protect Your Rights
If you are charged with a criminal offense and subjected to an interrogation by police while in their custody, then they are required to read you a Miranda warning before they begin their questioning. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to closely analyze your case and determine if your Miranda rights have been violated. If so, then your attorney may be able to petition the court to have any statements that you made thrown out. Notably, this could lead to the dismissal of your case.
It is the job of the police to make arrests and gather evidence. Most police officers are honest and law-abiding. Still, it is not uncommon for the police to trample on your rights in an effort to obtain a conviction. Hiring a criminal defense attorney will ensure that you have someone on your side who is fighting to protect your rights and to balance the scales of justice.
My Rights Law is focused on fighting for Californians’ rights. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending California clients who are accused of criminal offenses. We are here for you. If your rights have been violated in California, then call (888) 702-8882 or contact us online for a free consultation.