This week here at Catanzaro Law, we are starting yet another new series of articles. This time we’re going to review landmark criminal trials in United States history. As you may know, the concept of legal precedent remains hugely influential in court decisions to this day. So, it’s vital to know some legal history in order to see how it might impact your case. With that in mind, today we’re going to talk about the “Miranda warning.”
What is the Miranda Warning?
First, since 1966, the United States Supreme Court has required police officers to say this phrase to ensure that individuals getting arrested would be aware of certain fundamental and important constitutional rights. These include the rights to:
- Remain silent
- Have an attorney present at interrogation
- Informed that what you say can be used against you in court
What does this mean in simple terms? It means that if you are under arrest or are being interrogated by police, you don’t have to answer any of their questions or charges without an attorney. The police cannot force you to say anything. Furthermore, they cannot prevent you from getting an attorney.
History of the Miranda Warning
Second, in the now famous case, Miranda vs. Arizona (1966), police arrested and interrogated a man named Ernesto Miranda. Because he did not know his rights, he incriminated himself and signed a confession without legal counsel present. The US Supreme Court decided that, according to the Fifth Amendment, a defendant’s statements during a police interrogation cannot be used as evidence at their trial unless the court can show that the person was…
- informed of the right against self-incrimination before police questioning began,
- informed of the right to legal counsel before and during questioning,
- and that this person not only understood these rights, but voluntarily waived them.
Without this right, the police could abuse you into answering any question or force you to confess to crimes you didn’t commit.
Miranda and You!
Finally, if you’re arrested, you are innocent until proven guilty. Your silence cannot be used against you in court as evidence of guilt! So if you need someone to defend your rights in court, look no further than Mark Catanzaro. Contact his offices today.