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What do my Miranda Rights really protect?

If you are arrested in Kentucky, the officer detaining you must utter the well-known Miranda warning before interrogating you. Knowing the purpose and protections of a Miranda warning can help you protect your constitutional rights.

As the American Bar Association has noted, the Miranda warning has only been around for about fifty years, since the Supreme Court decided a case called Miranda v. Arizona. Miranda helped narrow down the definition of a coercive confession when in the custody of law enforcement. Before Miranda, confessions were inadmissible in court if all the circumstances surrounding an interrogation indicated that the confession was voluntary. The decision in Miranda made it clear that simply being in custody could be considered coercive. When a criminal suspect is in custody, law enforcement has clear power over him or her. Miranda is an attempt to level the playing field by informing a suspect of their Constitutional rights before they confess.

The Miranda warning is a summary of the Constitutional guarantees under the 5th and 6th amendment to the Constitution. Your rights under Miranda include the right against self-incrimination (the right to remain silent) and the right to an attorney. These rights only apply if invoked in a certain way. For example, you must actively invoke your right to remain silent. Failing to respond doesn't count. You must also actively request a lawyer. If you willingly talk after receiving a Miranda warning, you may have been deemed to have waived your rights. Remember also that the Miranda warning only applies to law enforcement interrogations when you have been detained by police. Voluntary statements made to officers when you haven't been detained can be used against you in court, and you don't have to be warned before making them.

This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

 

 

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Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold

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