What Are My Miranda Rights?
You may have seen a television show or movie where police read Miranda warnings to someone they are arresting. However, these rights are not usually read to you during your arrest, despite what you have seen on television. Regardless of what you have been arrested for, you may tell your lawyer that you did not receive your Miranda warning and are hopeful that your case will be thrown out. Unfortunately, that is not often the case. While not providing you with your Miranda rights can lead to some evidence being excluded, it rarely results in a full case dismissal.
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case called Miranda v. Arizona. In its decision, the Court held that an individual’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is in effect when someone is in custody, not just in a courtroom. Prosecutors are not allowed to use any statement made by someone in custody if they have not been read their Miranda rights.
Your Miranda rights include:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will 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.
To use your Miranda rights, you can either remain silent or ask for legal representation.
Once you do that, police are not allowed to ask you any further questions. This is important because you can assert your Miranda rights at any point, even after the police have asked you questions and you have answered them.
Deciding Whether to Talk
Many people who have been arrested either believe or are told by police that if they talk and tell them what they want to know, they will speak highly of them to the prosecutor. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Anything you say and any information they get from you, they can and will use against you.
However, they are required to read the Miranda warning. They may do this while they are arresting you, but more likely, they will do this at the police station. If they start asking you questions while you are still in the police car and they have not read the Miranda warning, any information they get could be inadmissible in court.
Be aware that some police officers will try to get you to say something incriminating, especially while transporting you to the police station. When police are in the front of the car, they may be talking to each other, discussing your arrest, your crime, or even discuss what may happen to you and how long you will spend in jail. They are doing this because they are trying to get you to respond to them and say something incriminating. They are not interrogating you, the prosecutor may argue that anything you said would still be admissible because the police were not required to give you a Miranda warning at that point.
What Is Implied Consent?
One of the most common arrests made in Georgia is for driving under the influence (DUI). Under Georgia’s implied consent law, by driving on any Georgia road, you give consent to police to test you for alcohol or drugs in your system. If you refuse a test, your driving privileges can be revoked. A simple refusal of a test may result in a loss of driving privileges for up to one year. Before any test or any refusal, a police officer is required to read you Georgia’s implied consent statement. They are only required to read you a Miranda warning if you are in custody and being interrogated.
Police can ask you basic questions when they pull you over, such as your name, age, and where you live. During this questioning, the police are not required to read you Miranda rights.
You are not required to answer questions about where you are going, where you are coming from, or even how much alcohol you have had or whether you have had any at all. Regardless of whether you answer the police officer’s additional questions, they may have already decided to arrest you. They may smell alcohol, they may have seen you swerving in your lane, or they may have seen you roll through a stop sign.
Once the police officer places you under arrest, you have the right to speak with a lawyer. Remember, however, that if you refuse a field sobriety test, you may lose your license for up to one year. If there is any chance you have alcohol or drugs in your system, it is probably a good idea to assert your right to a lawyer and speak with them before you answer any further questions.
When Should I Speak to a Lawyer?
No matter what you have been arrested for, having a lawyer on your side, even if you are willing to speak with police, is almost always a good idea. The police have to follow certain laws and regulations, but they are not looking out for your best interests. Your lawyer will have your best interests in mind and will be able to give you the guidance you need to help avoid the worst possible outcome.
While a lawyer may not be able to get your case completely thrown out after your arrest, not receiving your Miranda warning at the right time could mean that some evidence, including some information you gave to police, could be thrown out.
No case is easy, but your chance of getting a sentence reduced is much greater with a lawyer than without one. This is your freedom, and you should take it seriously and give yourself a fighting chance. Whether you have been arrested for a DUI or any other crime, having an experienced lawyer on your side will help you protect your rights.
Springfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Will Make Sure All of Your Rights Are Protected
Getting arrested is stressful, and you may not fully understand your rights. If the Miranda warning was not read to you, there might be legal action you can take that could benefit your case. To find out your next steps, speak with one of our experienced Springfield criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To learn more about how we can help you and to schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 912-754-6003. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.