Understanding the Miranda rights

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2021 | Criminal Defense

The Miranda rights explain to an individual his or her rights when taken into police custody. Although many people know the basic concepts of the rights, fewer truly understand what they mean.

People should understand not only what the rights are, but also what it means to waiver these rights.

Miranda warning overview

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, the reading of Miranda rights informs a suspect that he or she has the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney, even if he or she cannot afford to pay for one. This means the suspect does not need to answer any questions from law enforcement officers without an attorney present.

If an officer does not read the suspect the Miranda warning, or the suspect does not validly waiver the rights, the judge may throw out statements made during interrogations.

What it means to waiver these rights

According to FindLaw, one valid way to waiver either or both Miranda rights is for the suspect to explicitly state, spoken or in writing, that he or she waives the right to remain silent or the right to an attorney. However, even if the suspect does not implicitly express a waiver, law enforcement officers may assume an implied waiver.

This may happen if the suspect keeps talking and giving self-incriminating declarations, even after the reading of the rights. Implied waivers can also occur after the suspect is silent for a long time and then begins to make self-incriminating statements.

Because of implied waivers, suspects should clearly invoke their right to silence and their right to an attorney. Even if suspects initially waiver their rights, they can invoke them at a later time.