You do not have to say anything to a law enforcement officer that be used against you in Court. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Mississippi Constitution provide that no person can be compelled to give testimony against themself. But, what exactly does this mean?
People in American have a right against self incrimination. In other words the police cannot make you give oral testimony that can be used against you in Court. Before police question a suspect who is in custody the officers must read what is famously called the Miranda rights. The Miranda rights tell a suspect that they do not have to speak, if they do speak what they say can be used against them, that they have a right to an attorney, and if they cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed at no expense.
This all seems clear cut and good. However, the Miranda rule is far from clear. For example, when is a suspect in custody? Is a traffic stop custody and do police officers have to read Miranda rights during a traffic stop? Can a person be in custody even though they are in their own homes? Can a person waive their Miranda rights and consent to a police interview? These are just a few of the issues a person confronts and a lawyer must deal with when talking with a prospective client.
From time to time the criminal defense attorneys at Coxwell & Associates have written on the Miranda rights. Miranda rights may be one of the most frequent and reappearing topics on our Blog. Knowing when to talk with law enforcement and where to draw the line can be critical in an individual’s defense. If you are interested in knowing more about your Miranda rights please search our Blog for other informative articles on this important right.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.