The Miranda Warning is a set of statements the police recite to a criminal suspect that are designed to remind that suspect of their civil rights in the face of a police investigation.
You’ve probably heard the words of a Miranda Warning dozens of times on television and movies, but do you actually understand their purpose and meaning? Here’s what you should know:
What is the purpose of a Miranda Warning?
The primary purpose of the Miranda Warning is to ensure that law enforcement does not force, trick or coerce you into making statements that can incriminate you during the trial. This law was created to safeguard the suspect’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination while at the same time upholding their right to legal representation as enshrined in the Sixth Amendment.
How can Miranda Rights impact your criminal case?
You must be given a Miranda Warning any time you are both in police custody and subject to interrogation. You could, for example, be arrested but not given the Miranda Warning simply because the police caught you red-handed and aren’t ready to ask you questions.
If you decide to volunteer information on your own in a situation like that, what you say can still be used against you. If the police want to interrogate you, however, they need to give the Miranda Warning in order for the statements to be considered admissible in court.
Depending on the severity, a criminal charge can turn your life upside down. If you have been accused of a crime, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities and all the potential defenses available to you.