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3 Misconceptions About Miranda Warnings

The Miranda warnings originated in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, which set forth the following warning and rights:

  • 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 lawyer and have that lawyer present during the interrogation
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you
  • You can invoke your right to be silent before or during an interrogation, and if you do so, the interrogation must stop
  • You can invoke your right to have an attorney present, and until your attorney is present, the interrogation must stop
  1. Your case is NOT dismissed if an officer didn’t read you your Miranda rights
    Typically, a violation of Miranda warnings only results in a suppression of the statement(s) that were made as a result of the in-custody police interrogation. If the statement(s) are “suppressed” and there is no other incriminating evidence, then your case may be dismissed.
  2. You will NOT always be read your Miranda rights
    Officers only state your Miranda rights when you are under police custody or are being interrogated. This is to let you know that they will be questioning you, so anything you state can and will be used against you. You have the right to not participate and wait to speak to an attorney. If the officers do not feel the need to ask you questions because their investigation has established a good enough case for them without speaking to you, then you will not be read your Miranda rights. For example: when someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs an officer can ask DUI investigative questions prior to reading Miranda Warnings and those answers coupled with performance on field sobriety tests and objective signs of intoxication can lead to an arrest. Once an arrest decision is made, officers often do not give Miranda Warnings because they typically do not conduct custodial interrogations after DUI arrest.
  3. Remaining silent can NOT be used as incriminating evidence.
    Exercising your right to remain silent cannot be used against you. This choice simply shows that you understand your rights. Some people believe that they can “talk” their way out of an arrest by making voluntary, unsolicited statements. If you have something to say, say it to your attorney first. This will ensure that what you say is not misunderstood or misconstrued and ultimately used to your detriment. You have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. This means that you do not have to say anything at any time that could potentially incriminate you – Miranda Warnings similarly remind you of your right to remain silent and wait for the advice of experienced counsel before answering any questions.

If you have been accused of a crime, it is important that you understand ALL your rights before you answer any questions. Our office has successfully advised and represented clients in pre-charging and post-charging situations involving Miranda Warnings and strategic decisions about remaining silent. Contact The Nieves Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your matter!

Author Bio

Jo-Anna Nieves is the Founder and Managing Attorney of The Nieves Law Firm, an Oakland criminal defense law firm she created in 2012. With more than 11 years of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, domestic violence, expungement, federal crimes, juvenile law, motions to vacate, sex crimes, violent crimes, and other criminal charges.

Jo-Anna received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Super Lawyer Rising Star the past 8 years, the #12 Fastest Growing Law Firm in the U.S. by Law Firm 500 in 2019, and one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc 5000 in 2023.

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