Anyone who has watched a movie or television show featuring police has probably heard the Miranda rights in one form or another—or, as they are more and more commonly known, the Miranda warning. It is a requirement of every arresting officer to recite these rights to the accused or the entire charge becomes voided. Why are these rights so important and, more importantly, why is understanding them important to making sure your charges stand the best possible chance of a reduction or dismissal?
First, it is important to review the five points of the Miranda warning:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in court.
- You have the right to speak to a lawyer and have one present during questioning.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided to you.
- You can decide to exercise these rights at any time.
The primary purpose of these rights is to avoid any self-incrimination. Many of those being arrested feel as if they have to answer whatever the police ask them, but that is simply not the case. Every American citizen has the right to representation and counsel to ensure that due process is observed and that the accused is interrogated in a fair and legally admissible way.
Waiving these rights can result in further complications in the accused's defense. They can unwittingly make statements, verbal or written, that can come to harm their case down the road. This can cloud or later contradict their account of the incident in question and paint them as non-credible source to the judge and jury.
It is always recommended that the accused exercise their Miranda rights and only speak to a trusted Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney in the event of a criminal charge. If you or a loved one has been accused, then call us at Taracks & Associates to schedule a free case evaluation.