A Breakdown of Your Miranda Warning
Your Miranda Rights are a critical element of your legal rights and play
a significant role when you’re in police custody. The purpose of
your Miranda Warning is to notify you of your right to not make self-incriminating
statements, as protected by the
“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?”
These are the words that an officer must say verbatim before interrogating
you while you’re in custody. Your Miranda Rights are so essential
to the justice system that if an officer fails to accurately read your
Miranda Rights, your criminal case may get dismissed altogether.
Let’s take a closer look at what each part of your Miranda Rights means:
You have the right to remain silent: This means that the law protects your choice to remain silent when an
officer attempts to question you, although you aren’t required to
remain silent. To exercise this right in a situation, you must be direct
to reduce the likelihood of confusion and accidentally making self-incriminating
statements. Examples include:
- “I choose to remain silent”
- “I am exercising my right to remain silent”
- “I won’t speak without my attorney present”
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law: As stated, your words can and will be used against you in court. The court
will go above and beyond to twist your words in a way that’s most
destructive to you. Thus, during and after your arrest, your words become
a powerful tool that could help or harm you, so choose them wisely or
don’t speak at all.
You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one
will be provided for you: When the police interrogate you, you don’t have to respond without
an attorney present. This is in part because you may accidentally make
self-incriminating statements, therefore an attorney can provide the legal
counsel you need to best avoid that during your encounter with the police.
Not everyone can afford an attorney, therefore a public defender can represent
you for free. It is important for the police to read this full statement
regarding an attorney, otherwise, one might think they must represent
themselves due to their inability to hire a private lawyer.
Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?: This question gives you the opportunity to confirm or deny your understanding
of your Miranda rights that the officer read to you. You may address any
ambiguities, if applicable, and ask other clarifying questions if needed.
With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?: You may engage in an interrogation if you want to, but
only if you want to. By law, you are not required to submit to an interrogation
without an attorney present, but you may waive your rights to remain silent
and have an attorney at your discretion. Be careful, though. Don’t
let your decisions backfire.
Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys at Jerry Loftin & Associates are deeply familiar with your Miranda
Rights and how they can be mishandled by the police. Interfering factors
can prohibit you from fully hearing and understanding your Miranda Warning,
which can hurt your case. Thus, it’s important to exercise your
right to speak to an attorney as soon as possible so your rights can be
protected and upheld at every stage of the process.
Our criminal defense attorneys can be by your side the moment you give
us a call. We strongly advise against speaking to the police because you
may end up digging a deeper hole for yourself. Don’t let this happen
to you. Let us help.
Contact (817) 429-2000 to schedule a free consultation with our Fort Worth criminal
defense team. Your fight is our fight.