If you every seen a cop show, you probably already know what Miranda rights are. But why are they so important? And why must the police read them when arresting someone?
Here’s a little history lesson: In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in the case of Miranda v. Arizona that whenever someone is taken into custody by police and before questioning, he/she must be informed of the Fifth Amendment right not to make any statements that could incriminate the defendant. This means any defendant must be informed of four important facts:
If the police fail to inform the defendant of his/her rights, then anything revealed during questioning could be thrown out of court. Here’s an example of what can happen:
Your friend Tara sold some drugs to an undercover police officer. She was arrested and taken in for questioning. The officers begin to question her, but fail to inform her of her rights to an attorney and to stay silent. Tara, afraid of her future and going to jail, tell the police what they want to know in hope that she would get a lesser sentence by cooperating. However, when she finally retains an attorney who hears what had happened, he challenges the confession on the basis of Tara not knowing her basic rights. Because the police failed to read Tara of her Miranda rights, the evidence they gathered during questioning is voided.
However, don’t think that your case will go up in smoke because the police fail to read you your rights. All this means is anything that is revealed during questioning will probably not hold up in court. If the police have enough evidence against you, you still face charges against you.
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