Most people have heard, either from popular television shows, movies, or books, that the police are required to “read the rights” of a person under arrest. These “rights” are called Miranda Rights after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona. In this landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement officers must inform people being placed in their custody of certain rights that they have before asking them any questions.

However, researchers have unfortunately found that even though the Miranda case is over 50 years old, many people still don’t understand their rights against self-incrimination and end up waiving them inadvertently. Statistics show that people waive their Miranda rights as much as 80 percent of the time.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested, you need the immediate assistance of a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense attorney right away. Speaking to the police before talking to an attorney may have far-reaching and devastating consequences for your case, and you could end up waiving your rights without knowing it. That’s why you should have a committed legal professional by your side to explain all of your options clearly, so you can make informed decisions regarding your case.

At Fienman Defense, we can provide you with an experienced and aggressive defense advocate to help protect your rights and reach a favorable outcome. Don’t hesitate to call Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Michael Fienman at (215) 839-9529 for a free, initial consultation.

Reading of Rights

Miranda requires that a person in law enforcement’s custody be informed of the following before any questioning takes place:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before you talk to the police or have an attorney present while being questioned.
  • If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you, if you wish.

Miranda rights are based on the fact that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people from being forced to self-incriminate in all settings where they are under the custody of law enforcement. The reading of these rights is a safeguard since arresting or otherwise placing someone in custody is inherently compelling and undermines a person’s will to resist and may compel them to speak in a self-incriminating way.

When Miranda Warnings are Required

Law enforcement officers are required to read Miranda rights if they want to question a person in custody and later be able to use that person’s answers as evidence at trial. Being in custody doesn’t necessarily require that a person is handcuffed in the back of a police car – it covers any situation where the police have deprived a person of his or her freedom to freely act.

To determine whether a situation counts as a “custodial interrogation” that requires a Miranda reading, a court will look at several factors such as:

  • the identity of the individuals asking questions;
  • the presence of others;
  • who initiated the conversation;
  • if the police informed the individual that the interview was voluntary;
  • the place where the questioning took place;
  • the use of force or any physical restraints on the suspect; and
  • the time of day when the conversation occurred.

Failure to properly provide a Miranda warning prior to a custodial interrogation can result in a court barring the use of statements made by an individual to police for evidence at trial. Additionally, any evidence obtained as a result of these statements is also inadmissible.

Fienman Defense Can Help Protect Your Rights

Miranda rights are one of the most complex areas of criminal constitutional law, and there are many nuances, exceptions, and additional procedures that may be involved. Ultimately, you should always invoke your Miranda rights and refuse to speak with police officers until after you have consulted with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

At Fienman Defense, we will ensure that your rights are protected and that all avenues for your defense are properly explored and analyzed. If you or your loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime, call Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Michael Fienman immediately at ((215) 839-9529to discuss your best course of action.

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