You may have heard it on a TV shows or perhaps you’ve heard it personally:
“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. Do you understand the rights I have just read you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
The Miranda warning dates back to the 1960s and was initially designed to protect arrestees from threatening police interrogation tactics.
How Miranda rights work
You can waive your Miranda rights after they have been read to you, but this isn’t recommended. If you are questioned by police, it’s best to simply say that you do not wish to answer any questions without a lawyer present.
If, for any reason, you do waive your rights, you may plead the fifth and request to speak to a lawyer.
Police must read you your Miranda rights under two circumstances:
- You have been placed under arrest
- Police intend to question you after you’ve been arrested
When your Miranda rights don’t apply
If you were arrested after a search that you consented to, and you admit to a crime, police are not required to read you your Miranda rights.
A common myth is that if an officer doesn’t read an arrestee his or her Miranda warning, the charges can be dropped. This isn’t always true. If a person is arrested on indisputable evidence that a crime was committed, an officer isn’t required to read the Miranda warning. If, however, the evidence is limited and unclear, this may be beneficial for criminal defense.
Police are not required to read your Miranda warning in other circumstances, as well, including:
- If you are stopped and questioned without being arrested. The only time police must read your Miranda warning is if they intend to use your answers as evidence in court.
- If you are pulled over and asked to provide your driver’s license and registration.
- If you are asked to go to the police station to answer questions, or if police come to you to ask questions.
Most importantly, whether or not an officer reads your Miranda warning, you don’t have to answer questions. If you are stopped or summoned for questioning, you can simply decline. If you are arrested, simply say “I’m going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.”
After an arrest, you will be given the opportunity to make a phone call. The sooner you speak to an experienced South Carolina criminal defense lawyer, the easier it will be to fight your charges. Make that phone call to Matt Bodman, P.A. at 803-806-8605. If you have any further questions, you may contact us online.