Miranda Is One of the Most Well-Known and Misunderstood
Video Transcribed: This is Brian Jackson, I am an attorney in Tulsa. I work at Wirth Law Firm in Oklahoma. Common legal misconception – Miranda. I think of all the criminal procedural rules out there, Miranda is one of the most well-known and misunderstood.
It’s important for you to understand Miranda, because if you do ever find yourself in a situation where you are facing a criminal accusation of some kind, then your knowledge of Miranda helps your attorney out a whole lot. We can do our job much better and try to keep that statement out, try to keep you out of trouble, maybe even keep you from being charged, to begin with, if you know your rights and you exercise them appropriately because you can avoid incriminating yourself and avoid unnecessary exposure.
A good citizen who knows their rights makes their lawyer’s job a heck of a lot easier, and there are things we can do if you are exercising your rights that you enable us to do, such as getting a statement excluded, such as not having to deal with excluding a statement and not having to deal with things like the police being able to obtain a search warrant because of something you might’ve said. It’s much easier for us to keep you out of trouble when you know your rights.
Talking about Miranda, many people are under the impression that if you are arrested for a crime, that the police are obliged to Mirandize you upon arrest, that is to read you your rights. They’re not.
What Miranda actually pertains to is the police are required to advise you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney if, and only if, they are planning to conduct what’s called a custodial interrogation.
Now, in layman’s terms, that means that you are not free to go and they’re going to ask you questions. If that’s the situation, then they are legally obliged to Mirandize you, that is they have to read you your rights, because if they don’t, then anything you say after that point is inadmissible in court.
Now, what does that mean? Well, number one, if you are in a situation where you’re not free to go and the police start asking questions if they don’t read you your rights, the first thing you should be doing is remembering that whatever you say to them can and will be used against you. Shut your mouth, so that when you hire us, when you hire a lawyer, we’re able to better help you get out of trouble by not having some random statement you might’ve made come back to haunt you.
Also, if they start asking questions, the one thing you should be saying is, “With all due respect, officers, I have nothing to say and I’d like to have an attorney present right now.” That should terminate any further questions. If it does not, you need to remain silent after that point.
Then as soon as you possibly can, you want to get ahold of a good lawyer and let them know that the police are attempting to interrogate you. Your lawyer will probably tell the police that you have nothing to say and will invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent on your behalf. Then they’ll tell you, don’t talk to the police and don’t talk to anybody else about whatever the incident was.
If you ever do find yourself in this situation, as I say, you do want to call us right away. We can help you out with that. You can talk freely to your lawyer without worrying about it coming back to haunt you because whatever you say to us stays between you and your attorney. That is the Miranda warning and when you can expect one. Again, it’s not just because you’re getting arrested, it’s only if you’re being interrogated while in custody.