When suspected criminals are arrested, they are often given what are called Miranda warnings, or Miranda rights. Miranda warnings are given so the suspects are aware of their Fifth Amendment rights, which can affect the outcome of their case. Miranda warnings are part of Florida criminal procedure and comprise 5 main rights. For a thorough explanation, consult with a Miami criminal attorney.
When Miranda Warnings are Given
Contrary to popular belief, police officers are not required to give each person they arrest their Miranda warnings unless they plan to question the suspect later. A police officer can arrest someone without giving them their Miranda warnings; however, they must explain Miranda rights before interrogating a suspect. Failure to do so means that anything spoken to the police officer cannot be used in a court of law.
Fifth Amendment Rights
When a police officer makes an arrest, he or she will almost always inform the suspect of their rights as outlined in the Fifth Amendment, as follows:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to consult with a criminal attorney and have that lawyer present during any questioning.
- If you cannot afford a criminal attorney, one will be appointed for you.
You also have a fifth right, where you can choose to talk to the police officer but can stop the interview process at any time; however, the police officer likely will not tell you and because of this, many people are not aware of it. In addition, police departments in some states will add another sentence indicating that they have no way of giving you a lawyer, but one will be appointed for you, if you wish, if and when you go to court.
Florida Criminal Procedure: What Happens Next
According to Florida criminal procedure, the suspect must confirm to the police officer that they understand their rights. Silence is not an option because many people do not speak English or they may not understand what the police officer has said to them. If they do not understand English, they have a right to a translation in their primary language and that is usually recorded.
If the suspect agrees to questioning, but then wishes to remain silent during the questioning, the interrogation must stop at that time. This is called “pleading the fifth.” If the suspect wishes to have a criminal attorney present, Florida criminal procedure states that questioning cannot continue until the attorney is present.
If public safety is an issue, police officers may ask questions of the suspect without giving them their Miranda warnings. Any evidence obtained under these circumstances can be used in a court of law.
If the suspect is not in police custody, no Miranda warnings need to be given and anything said can be used in court. An exception to this is if a person confesses to a crime before being given the Miranda warnings or if a police officer stops someone on the street and questions them about a crime.
What You Should Know
It’s important to know that Miranda warnings are in place to keep suspects from incriminating themselves and being put in jail, not to keep them from being arrested. Even if a suspect doesn’t waive his rights, he or she is still required to give the police officer their personal information, such as name and address. The police officer also has the right to search the suspect and take a blood sample from anyone suspected of a DUI.
If a police officer questions you without giving you the Miranda warnings, you should contact a Miami criminal attorney immediately. Under Florida criminal procedure, a police officer cannot use anything you say against you in court unless your rights are read to you beforehand.
If you are involved in a Miami criminal defense case, you need professional legal help. The Falk & Ross Law Firm is an aggressive criminal attorney firm that is familiar with Florida criminal procedure. Contact them today for a free consultation at (305) 741-6997.