We’ve all heard about incidents where suspects suffered injury or death during an arrest. For anyone in New Jersey or New York who’s experienced rough handling from the police firsthand, it’s enough to make them fearful of any future encounter with law enforcement.
What people often do not think about at the time is that they do have rights, even during an arrest. If the officer is violating those rights, they are the ones who are breaking the law. For people in Hackensack or the Bronx, getting a clear legal perspective on your situation can help you to defend yourself and fight for your rights if you are facing charges and possible conviction.
What are the Miranda Rights?
Miranda Rights got their name from a case, Miranda v. Arizona, that resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision targeting police intimidation. Before this decision, law enforcement could question an arrested suspect without first informing them of their constitutional rights, and also use any incriminating statements the suspect gave against them at trial.
The rights in question are covered under the Fifth Amendment:
- “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…”
As well as under the Sixth Amendment:
- “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
These rights protect individuals who are in police custody from giving out information during interrogation that could later put them in legal jeopardy. In fact, the suspect has the right to not answer any questions, as well as the right to ask for an attorney to be present.
What do Miranda Rights protect?
When law enforcement uses intimidation or verbal and physical threats to get a suspect to talk, it can be a scary experience that leaves them feeling that they have no choice but to comply. After an officer arrests a suspect, they must give the following statements that are the Miranda Rights:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
- Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?
Forcing a confession or incriminating statements from someone can be enough to get a conviction when a police officer does not have enough evidence against an individual in their custody. But doing so can create legal problems for the officer, and if they did not read the accused their rights, they cannot submit any statements they obtained at trial. In fact, the judge may throw out the case on these grounds.