Anyone who has watched a show featuring law enforcement has heard the statement recited to the suspect during the arrest. This statement is the Miranda warning, and any police officer arresting a suspect must read these rights.
The two main rights associated with this constitutional requirement regard attorney rights and the right to prevent self-incrimination. However, not everyone understands these rights fully.
Fifth and Sixth Amendment privileges
According to the Cornell Law Legal Information Institute, the Miranda warning gives a defendant the right to:
- Remain silent
- An Attorney
- Have a lawyer appointed if money is an issue
- Have an attorney present during law enforcement interrogations
A warned defendant can state verbally or in writing that he or she is invoking the right to remain silent. When this occurs, all law enforcement questioning must end. If the suspect requests an attorney at any time, all questioning must terminate until legal counsel is present.
The Miranda rights invocation applies not only to the original arresting police officers but also to other law enforcement personnel, and no police-initiated questioning may occur.
Exceptions to the Miranda rights
According to Constitution Annotated, a warned defendant also has the option to waive his or her Miranda rights and voluntarily engage in police questioning. However, the prosecutor must be able to prove the validity of the waiver. The court does not consider it a waiver just because the defendant was silent, did not state the invocation of rights and then said something self-incriminating.
Even if suspects waive their rights initially, they can invoke them at a later point.
If there is not a valid waiver, or if the arresting officers did not inform the suspect of the Miranda rights, the court may rule that certain evidence or statements are inadmissible at the trial.