We’re all familiar with it – “You have the right to remain silent” and so on and so forth. This phrase is part of the Miranda Warning, otherwise known as your Miranda Rights. But you’ve probably never really dug into what these rights actually mean for you, so I will explain them here.
Misconception about the Miranda Warning
While reading the American Bar Association journal today I came across an interesting article on misconceptions about our US Constitution. This got me thinking about our US Constitution and our PA Constitution and other general misconceptions with the law.
One of the main misconceptions I hear from clients is that they were never Mirandized when they were arrested. This I am sure comes from the numerous cop television shows and movies were a person is tackled to the ground and the officers immediately state the Miranda Warnings; however even if you are arrested under the law you do not ever have to be Mirandized. As long as you are not being “interrogated” these warnings never have to be given.
The main distinction here is the level of control the police are influencing over you and whether or not you are in custody and being “interrogated”. As far as the different levels of incarceration/police control, that is a complicated subject on its own and I will discuss those levels in a later post.
3 Levels of Police Control
For now, I will just state that there are three main levels of police control over an individual:
- the “mere encounter”.
- the “investigative detention”.
- and the “custodial detention”.
Now Miranda rights can be given at any time but are only required during “custodial detention” and if you are being “interrogated”.
What Do I Do If My Miranda Rights Are Violated?
If they are not given in this situation and the police are using the statements that you gave to them against you, only then can you make a claim to the Court that your Miranda rights have been violated.
At this point the issue will need to be brought in front of a Judge and ruled upon to limit the police from using the statements and preclude then from testifying about the statements.
When it comes to being arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania your right to remain silent and Miranda rights get murkier. In Pennsylvania, if you are sitting in your car and a police officer asks you questions you are not considered in custody so everything you say will get used against you.
Once you get to the hospital you are even told by the police officer you have no right to an attorney before they ask you to give blood. Not until after the blood test does a police officer give you your Miranda rights warnings. However, to even make this more complex once arrested and put into the police car if they ask you any questions then you are considered in custody and they have to give you Miranda warnings but then at the hospital in terms of the blood test you don’t have any rights. Very messed up system in Pennsylvania so you must never answer any questions the police officer asks you other than biographical data. This avoids any issues.
Other than that, remain silent and ask for a lawyer.
If You Are Charged with a Criminal Offense, Call an Experienced Attorney Immediately
If you are charged with a DUI or other Criminal offenses, contact Manchester & Associates ASAP for a Free Strategy Session. You will use this no-obligation Strategy Session to begin building your defense and have your legal options explained to you.