If you have watched police shows or movies, you probably know that you have the right to remain silent if and when you are ever arrested, right? In fact, the officer who arrests you must remind you of that right—as well as a few others—immediately upon taking you custody. While you do have the right to remain silent—as well as a few other rights—many people assume that they know the law when it comes to their Miranda rights. They, however, are often wrong. If you were arrested on the suspicion that you committed a crime but were never read your rights, it is important to understand your available options.
Your Miranda Rights
The series of statements and questions that comprise the “Miranda Rights” are often and more accurately known as the “Miranda Warnings.” Most police departments use the same or very similar wording. There are two specific rights addressed and explained:
- 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.
An officer will generally conclude the warnings with two questions:
- Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?
- With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?
The right to remain silent is a restatement of your Fifth Amendment right regarding self-incrimination while the right to an attorney is an explanation of your Sixth Amendment right to counsel during a criminal prosecution. The questions are meant to ensure that there is no ambiguity.
What If I Was Not Mirandized?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement for you to be read your Miranda rights upon arrest. Instead, the police must provide the Miranda Warnings prior to you being questioned while in police custody. So what does that mean? It means that if the police wish to arrest you and bring you to the police station for questioning, they can do so without reading you your rights.
Whoever conducts the interrogation will need to remind you of your Miranda Rights before any questioning takes place. If the interrogator does not do so, any information obtained during the questioning is likely to be deemed inadmissible—not only in court but also for the purposes of obtaining warrants and other aspects of the investigation.
Of course, if there is enough physical or circumstantial evidence without your statements, you could still be convicted even if you were never read your rights. That is, the information gathered during questioning could be thrown out, and you might still be found guilty. If, however, a significant part of the prosecution’s case relies on your confession or statements and you were never Mirandized, the entire case against you could be dismissed.
Call Us for Help
If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a crime, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney right away. Do not speak with police or answer questions until you have a lawyer present. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 to get the help you need today. We offer free consultations.