Miranda Rights, it is very important that you understand your rights, especially when it involves your life or a life of a loved one. Allow B. Scott Winkler, The Shafter Lawyer, to introduce some important information regarding the 5th and 6th Amendment.

You have the right to remain silent… so that means…. remain silent!

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may 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.”

This is called a “Miranda” warning, and police must give you this warning before any custodial interrogation.

Where does the name “Miranda” come from?

The name “Miranda” comes from the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona, where the Supreme Court first laid down the rule that police must inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney before conducting any custodial interrogation. Otherwise, any confession that you make is inadmissible!

In Miranda, the defendant was arrested for kidnapping and rape. Then, after two hours of interrogation without ever being advised of his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney, he signed a written confession admitting to the crimes and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years. However, the Supreme Court REVERSED the conviction and ruled that his confession was not voluntarily made, and thus should not have been admitted into evidence. Because of the inherent pressures associated with custodial interrogations, the only way a confession could be voluntary in such situations is if the defendant is first informed of the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Because of this landmark ruling, the police must read you your Miranda rights before asking you questions.

Where does the “right to remain silent” come from?

Your right to remain silent stems from the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: “No person … shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”. Have you ever heard the saying, “I plead the 5th”? Now you know what “5th” that is referring to: the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Because of the 5th Amendment, you have the right to remain silent. Also, notice that the Miranda warning includes this statement: “Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.” It tells you that your statements to police officers will be used AGAINST YOU, they will NOT be used to help you.

If you are placed under arrest and you are read your Miranda rights, the officer will try to get you to confess to the crime. He may say something like, “I am just trying to help you,” or “I need you to be honest with me.” The officer is not your friend in this situation! He is trying to get you to make statements that will be USED AGAINST YOU. Don’t say anything! Remain silent!

Where does the “right to an attorney” come from?

Your right to an attorney is guaranteed by the 6th Amendment, which states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

Again, if an officer is interrogating you, remain silent. The ONLY thing you should say to the officer is that you’d like to speak to an attorney. That’s it.

What must the police do if I exercise my “Miranda” rights:

According to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Miranda: “If the individual indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, THE INTERROGATION MUST CEASE… If the individual states that he wants an attorney, THE INTERROGATION MUST CEASE until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning.”

If you believe your “Miranda” rights have been violated, call the Law Office of B. Scott Winkler at 661-746-0235 for a free consultation to see what can be done to remedy the situation.