Making sure the Miranda warning actually helps

Making sure the Miranda warning actually helps

People who face criminal charges should understand how they can get protection from the Miranda warning-and how it may hurt them.

People in New York that may be suspected of criminal activity may or may not want to answer questions from law enforcement officials at certain times. The law known as the Miranda warning provides the ability for suspects or defendants to refuse to answer questions when they do not wish to. This has become a highly important element of our criminal defense system over the years as it protects the rights of many people.

Protection is not always automatic

Despite what some people believe, there can be some times when the Miranda warning does not actually help people-even when they believe it does. A case decided by the United States Supreme Court just last year that puts the Miranda warning in a new light.

The case, Salinas v. Texas, involves a man who was invited by officers to the police station to answer some questions about a murder. The man went of his own volition and participated in questioning for roughly an hour. When questions pertaining to a weapon arose, the man stopped speaking. According to reports, his body language conveyed what could have been construed as extreme nervousness. This body language was later allowed to be used in a trial against the man.

The Supreme Court’s ruling explained that the nonverbal cues and movements were acceptable as testimony in some fashion because the defendant did not directly state his desire to cease answering questions. If the man had done this, his body movements would not have been admissible in court.

Basics of the Miranda warning

Understanding the parameters of any law can help people facing charges for drug crimes, sex crimes, white collar crimes and more to receive the right protection and defenses.

Some of the tenets of the Miranda warning provide that:

  • All suspects must provide names, addresses and other related information to officers.
  • The Miranda warning must be read in full before officers can ask suspects questions.
  • Suspects can agree to answer questions and then choose to stop at any time; such decisions must be respected by officers.

It is important to note that the Miranda warning cannot protect against an arrest as officers can still arrest people that decline to answer questions.

What suspects can do

When accused of crimes, people may wish to wait to answer any questions until they have had the chance to talk to an attorney. This can be one way to remain protected through the criminal process.