“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and may be used against you in a court of law…” This will sound familiar to most people, as it is repeated in many crime shows and movies. But they are more than just lines in a show. These phrases originate from constitutionally-mandated rights, which has come to be known as the Miranda warnings, that must be read to all criminal suspects when he or she is in custody and subject to interrogation. If law enforcement fails to advise a suspect of their rights, any statements given to police officers cannot be used against them at trial.
There is no specific script that must be read, but the following information must be included in a Miranda warning:
- The right to remain silent
- What the suspect says can and may be used against them in a court of law
- The right to have an attorney present before and during questioning
- If the suspect cannot afford an attorney, they have the right to have an attorney appointed at no cost to them
If you believe you were deprived of the recitation of your Miranda rights, contact the Mercer County criminal defense attorney you can trust, Mark Catanzaro.
When Is A Miranda Right Warning Necessary?
Many people mistakenly believe that an individual must be read their rights only upon arrest. According to the law, the following circumstances will trigger the necessity to administer a Miranda Warning:
A custodial setting may, in fact, be when the suspect is formally arrested, but all that is necessary is that the suspect reasonably feels that he or she is not free to leave. This could include his or her home or a roadside pull over. Similarly, interrogation not only means express questioning, but it also refers to any words or actions that police know or should know that are reasonably likely to elicit incriminating responses.
Once these rights are read, the police may not commence interrogation until the suspect knowingly and willingly (voluntarily) waives his rights. He must understand what he is waiving, and in that regard, the warning must be translated if necessary. In New Jersey, police will have a person sign a waiver card. However, such a waiver of rights may not be valid if any police coercion was involved or if there was ambiguity in the suspect’s waiver.
Any statements made without the proper warnings being read, or without a valid waiver, will be suppressed at trial and cannot be used against a defendant.
Need a Criminal Defense Attorney in Mercer County?
If taken into custody, it is advised that you do not make any statements nor sign a waiver card, but instead request to speak with your Mercer County criminal defense attorney right away. Mark Catanzaro, a long-time criminal defense attorney in Mercer County, will evaluate the circumstances and determine whether there was a failure on the part of the police to read you your rights or if the validity of a waiver should be challenged.