What Are Your Miranda Rights?

Understanding your rights during an arrest is crucial, and this knowledge comes into play when you are read your Miranda Rights. We believe in empowering the accused in Alabama with essential information that protects their rights, their futures, and their freedoms.

These rights, which you’ve likely heard repeated on cop shows (ideally never in real life), are recited by police to individuals being placed under arrest. They play a pivotal role in legal proceedings, but it’s important to note that these rights are only required to be read if the police intend to interrogate you post-arrest. If sufficient evidence already exists, the reading of these rights might not occur

 This protocol originated from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona (1966), which aimed to protect individuals from coercive police practices. However, a recent ruling in Vega v. Tekoh (2022) made a slight change to how a failure to read these rights impacts a potential civil case against the officers.

We want to break down each portion of the script to help you better understand your rights when facing arrest in Alabama.

“You Have a Right to Remain Silent”

The Miranda Rights are designed to be clear and comprehensible. Central to these rights is the protection under the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. This means that when confronted by police questioning, you are under no legal obligation to respond. The safest approach is to remain silent until you can speak with an attorney. Silence, in this scenario, is a powerful tool for protecting your legal rights.

“Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You in a Court of Law”

Choosing to speak during police questioning is a high-risk decision. Despite any beliefs you might hold about explaining your way out of a situation, remember that police officers are trained in interrogation techniques. These tactics can lead to self-incriminating statements. In the context of legal custody, every word you utter carries significant weight and could influence your case’s outcome. Because of this, it’s imperative to exercise your right to remain silent.

“You Have a Right to an Attorney”

The law ensures your right to legal counsel, and police cannot deny you access to an attorney. It’s vital to insist on this right and refrain from speaking until you have legal representation. While the police may continue their questioning, you are under no obligation to respond until you have consulted with your attorney (and even after). This right is your safeguard against being intimidated into self-incrimination.

“If You Cannot Afford an Attorney, One Will be Appointed for You”

In situations where hiring an attorney is financially impossible, the state will provide a public defender. Although these attorneys are dedicated and qualified, their heavy caseloads may limit the attention and resources they can devote to your case. For this reason, seeking a private attorney, who can dedicate a larger amount of attention and time to your defense, is advisable.

At John M. Totten, P.C., we understand the gravity of being read your Miranda Rights and the importance of immediate, effective legal representation. If you find yourself in such a situation in Alabama, it’s crucial to have a defense attorney who can navigate the Alabama legal system and advocate for your rights. Contact our team for a dedicated, experienced Alabama criminal defense attorney.

John M. Totten