“You have the right to remain silent,” according to our Miranda rights, and the right to an attorney. Many adults are generally familiar with these phrases. Even without hearing them in person, we often hear them recited in countless movies and TV shows.
However, in the context of an actual arrest and police questioning, it can be easy to get confused or misled by police with regard to these rights. And unfortunately, violations can occur without you realizing it, especially when you are in a stressful situation.
For instance, there are a few types of issues that can arise specifically regarding Miranda rights in state and federal cases.
- Failure to understand these rights: Children, for example, may not actually understand their rights even if they understand the words an officer is saying. They may not know that they don’t have to talk until they have a lawyer, for instance. This is a serious problem, because as this article states, children are especially in danger of falsely confessing to a crime.
- Failure to read the rights: Sometimes an officer never even reads a person his or her rights. The officer might also read them too late, after a person has made an incriminating statement. In these situations, it is crucial to determine if and when a Miranda warning was read in order to protect a suspect’s rights.
- Variations in the warnings: Even if a person has heard the warning multiple times, there are reportedly more than 800 variations in the text of Miranda rights. Some are brief, with just 21 words; others are over 400 words long. These variations, combined with the fact that hearing these rights is not the same as understanding these rights, can lead to confusion and misinterpretation.
Without close scrutiny of this and other police and arrest procedures, a person could be wrongfully convicted. As such, it is vital for anyone facing serious criminal charges to consult an attorney who has the legal knowledge to examine the case for any potential rights violations.