We've all heard it – in TV shows, movies, podcasts, or in real life – “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law.” This phrase is commonly known as the Miranda Warning. Law enforcement in all 50 states are required to recite some version of this phrase to you anytime you are under arrest or detained for questioning.
So, what should you do if you are placed under arrest? Should you talk to the police? Or should you invoke your 5th Amendment Right to remain silent? Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer, Megan Smith, is here to explain what your Miranda rights are and what you should do if you are arrested.
The History of Miranda Rights
To start, it helps to have an understanding of where this precedent came from. The Miranda Warning originated from a case in Arizona, The People of the State of Arizona v. Ernesto Miranda. Ernesto Miranda was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona in the 60’s for robbery, kidnapping, and rape. He fought a long court battle, each time taking his case to a higher court and eventually making its way to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court held that Miranda’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights had been violated during his arrest and interrogation. The ruling of his case set forth the requirements for a new warning that law enforcement would be required to give when interrogating individuals in police custody.
Each state may have slightly different wording to their Miranda warnings, but the Miranda Warning is usually something along the lines of this: 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 to you.” After this phrase is read, law enforcement commonly asks, “Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With your rights in mind, do you wish to speak with me?”
So, do you? The short answer is no. Besides providing law enforcement with your basic information, such as your (true) full name, address, and date of birth, you should not answer any questions. After police read you your Miranda Warning, you will need to invoke your right to remain silent and for an attorney. You need to be specific in your request for an attorney. Tell the officers, “I do not wish to speak with you and I want an attorney.” This will stop the officer’s from asking you additional questions without a criminal defense lawyer present. A Criminal Defense Attorney knows which questions police can and cannot ask you, as well as what interrogation tactics they are allowed to use. Without an attorney present, you may say more than you are legally required to, which could be used against you in court.
Hire an Attorney to Help You Navigate the Michigan Legal System
The legal system has many rules about evidence and testimony, so leave it to your criminal defense attorney to handle those rules. For example, If they continue to ask you questions after you invoke your right to remain silent and request an attorney, any statements you make (so long as you didn’t agree to waive your right to remain silent and request an attorney at some point) could be thrown out in court on your criminal defense attorney’s motion. However, it is always best to remain silent until you speak to a criminal defense lawyer.
Contact Tanis Schultz, PLLC today to speak with a dedicated and experienced attorney in Grand Rapids.