Nearly everyone knows of their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney when being arrested. These rights are tricky though, and the confusion over how and when to assert your rights can create legal problems down the road if an arrest does take place. It is understandable to be scared when facing possible arrest, but when you are armed with the knowledge of what you can and cannot do, you will fare better in a Court of law.
The right to an attorney and the information that anything you say “can and will be used against you” are referred to as the Miranda rights. Here are three important things to know about these rights:
- Until you are actually arrested, you are not entitled to be given a Miranda warning.
- Only things said after the warning is given to you are subject to being kept out of Court by your attorney, if it is proven your words were a result of a violation of the rights. This means anything you say BEFORE an arrest is fair game.
- The requirement that you actually be arrested in order for the police to be required to “
read you your rights” means that you have been taken into custody. Simply being interviewed while in the presence of the police is not the same as being in custody. If you are free to leave, then you have not been arrested or taken into custody.
The public perception of these valuable rights is often skewed. When in doubt, remain silent and ask if you are being arrested or taken into custody. If the answer is no, you are not entitled to be given these warnings. Of course cooperating with the police is something that you should do when doing so does not jeopardize your freedom. If you are concerned about where police questioning is going and have not been arrested, you are within your rights to stop the questioning and seek legal advice. We can help you understand your rights and make sure they are protected.
For questions about criminal law, call us today. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.