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What are Miranda rights and how can you invoke them?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense

People who are being interrogated or detained by a police officer will likely hear the officer read them their rights. These are informally known as the Miranda rights because of a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Miranda rights include protections against self-incrimination and having legal representation. For those who are dealing with a situation involving the police, invoking their rights should be a top priority.

Ways to invoke Miranda rights

Miranda rights aren’t automatically invoked when a person interacts with police officers. Instead, the person has to make it clear that they’re invoking their rights. This can be done in several ways, but the intent must be stated in a way that doesn’t leave any doubt.

Some clear ways to do this include:

  • I invoke my Miranda rights.
  • I need to speak to my attorney before answering questions.
  • I choose to remain silent.
  • I’m not speaking to police until my lawyer is present.

Once a person invokes their Miranda rights, police officers must stop all questioning. The invocation is universal, so they can’t call in new officers to resume the interrogation. Instead, they must abide by the person’s wishes to speak to an attorney before questioning. The person who invokes their Miranda rights shouldn’t make any other statements to the officers after the invocation because starting to answer questions again may be construed as being willing to speak to law enforcement again.

Speaking to an attorney before speaking to the police is important because legal counsel can provide the person being questioned with an opportunity to find out exactly how their statements may be perceived. The statements that a person makes must be factual, but how they’re presented may have an impact on perception and how they’re applied in the case.

Violation of Miranda rights

If police officers don’t respect the invocation of Miranda rights, statements made after a person has said that they want to invoke those rights may be thrown out of the case against them. This can become a valuable defense strategy point if their defense team handles the situation correctly.