If you have seen a police or true crime show, you may have heard of Miranda Rights, also known as the Miranda Warning, which police officers are required to say when someone is in custody and is subject to interrogation. There are variations of this speech in each state, but the intent is the same. The Miranda Warning is read to ensure the police do not force or coerce the suspect of making a statement against their interest. Besides the fact that the arresting police officer must go through the Miranda Rights with a suspect, there is another critical part of this exchange: the suspect must respond affirmatively that they understood their Miranda Rights. The suspect may not understand, or they may not speak English. Many people believe that if they are not read their Miranda Rights, they can escape criminal punishment, but this is false. If you were not read your Miranda Rights, at trial, the prosecutor cannot use anything you said while you were interrogated or when you were in custody. There are exceptions if public safety is a concern. The officer must convey the following:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to have a lawyer.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you.
Does Remaining Silent Apply During Questioning?
Remaining silent is a right that a person can invoke at any time prior to questioning. They can remain silent during questioning as well. If the right to remain silent is invoked, the interrogation is supposed to end, and the person has to have the opportunity to speak with a lawyer or have a lawyer present during the interrogation.
When Must the Police Read Your Miranda Rights?
While crime show depictions usually include police officers going through Miranda Rights with everyone who is arrested, it is important to know that police are only required to read these rights when the suspect is both in custody and will be subject to interrogation. There are some questions that the person who is being arrested must answer. Those questions include:
- What is your name?
- What is your age?
- What is your address?
Additionally, the suspect can be searched; this is to protect the police officer. If the suspect gave a confession to the officer prior to being read their Miranda Rights, that confession may be included as evidence in court. If a person who is brought in for questioning has been read their Miranda Rights and decides to speak freely to police without a lawyer, that person can change their mind at any time. They may either not speak at all or request a lawyer. If the person suspected of a crime is a minor, they have the right to have a parent or guardian present for questioning under New Jersey law. If the suspect is a juvenile, they are required to answer the following:
- What is the name of your parent or guardian?
- Where is the parent or guardian located?
- What is the best way to contact them?
It is recommended to have a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of criminal law to be present during an interrogation.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Can Help if Your Miranda Rights Were Violated
You have certain rights when you are in custody or in an interrogation. If you believe your Miranda Rights were violated, our South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Agre & St. John can determine if any evidence is dismissible. Call us at 856-428-7797 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.