Miranda Rights and the Fifth Amendment Explained

In response to the historic 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court declared that any person taken into police custody must be informed of the right not to make self-incriminating statements under the Fifth Amendment. In Miranda v. Arizona, Ernesto Arturo Miranda was convicted on charges of rape, kidnapping and armed robbery based on a confession he made while being interrogated by police. Had he known his Fifth Amendment rights, Miranda would likely not have confessed to the crimes in question. As such, our “right to remain silent,” and associated rights are commonly referred to as the Miranda Rights.

The Four ‘Miranda Rights’

If you are placed in police custody, you must be read your Miranda Rights prior to being questioned. These rights are as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to an attorney.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

Occasionally police will fail to read the Miranda Rights to a suspect in custody. Whether they just forgot, or chose to do so, is irrelevant. If you are questioned without receiving your Miranda rights, any confession you make will likely be considered involuntary, and thus inadmissible in your case. In addition, any evidence obtained by way of the involuntary statement may also be thrown out. A MA defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with a crime.

An Unlawful Confession

Consider the following scenario. Stephanie is arrested on suspicion that she was involved in a hit and run accident. Before being read her Miranda rights, Stephanie is questioned. She breaks down in tears, saying she only fled the scene because her friend – who had a bag of illegal prescription pills – told her to keep driving. Stephanie also confesses that they threw the bag of pills out of the car window after the accident. The police, in turn, find the bag of drugs and submit as evidence in court.

If Stephanie has a good defense attorney, the attorney will challenge her confession, saying that Stephanie would never have confessed if she had known her right to remain silent. The judge is likely to find the confession unlawful, which means that both the confession and the drugs discovered as a result of the confession will probably be thrown out. A Boston criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights if you are facing charges for any type of crime.

Fifth Amendment

Miranda rights are essentially an extension of our Fifth Amendment rights. They are intended to ensure that any suspect knows his or her rights and, if choosing to waive those rights, does so voluntarily. The following is the text of the Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Criminal Defense Law Firm

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals who have been charged with crimes for more than 50 years. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, keep you out of jail, and keep your record clean. We understand that humans make mistakes. Don’t make another one by hiring the wrong attorney. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have extensive experience with criminal cases, and an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed entirely. Don’t go through this difficult time alone, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.


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