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Were my Miranda Rights Violated?

Miranda rights are a fundamental right that all Americans enjoy. They are a foundation of our criminal justice system and required to protect against false confessions. Miranda rights are based on the Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination. The invocation of Miranda rights can oftentimes be the difference between statements coming into court that are incredibly damaging or those statements being excluded.

Miranda warnings must be given by law enforcement when someone is in custody and being interrogated.

The rights include:

  1. The right to remain silent
  2. Anything said can be used in court against the person
  3. The right to an attorney present during questioning
  4. If the person cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed before questioning

In order to be questioned without an attorney present, the person must validly waive their right to an attorney.

For the waiver to be valid it must contain the following:

  1. Voluntary:
    • A waiver is voluntary when it is made without intimidation, coercion, or deception. Therefore, it must be a free and deliberate choice.
  2. Knowing and Intelligent:
    • Miranda waivers must be knowing and intelligent; that is, the person must know that they are abandoning a “known” right, which means they fully understand they are waiving their right to have an attorney present during questioning. Courts will look at the intelligence of the individual to determine if they had the requisite intelligence to understand the rights and consequences of the waiver.

There are some exceptions to the Miranda requirements – for example, public safety, officer safety, or negotiations during an emergency. In circumstances such as these, Miranda warnings are not required. If you or someone you know had their Miranda rights violated, and it led to criminal charges being filed or an investigation, contact my office today. I will provide a free, confidential consultation.