Before the police can question someone who is in custody, they must give Miranda warnings, which are:
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 to you.
Failure to comply with this requirement can result in suppression of evidence after the filing of a motion to suppress. The United States Supreme Court, in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), said that the warnings must be given “when an individual is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom by the authorities in any significant way, and is subjected to questioning, the privilege against self-incrimination is jeopardized. Procedural safeguards must be employed to protect the privilege.”
Fifth Amendment Right To Remain Silent
The right to remain silent is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to our United States Constitution. This right has been popularized in the phrase, “pleading the fifth.” The Miranda warning is designed to ensure that the suspect is aware of and understands his or her constitutional right to remain silent. Informing the suspect of his right to an attorney is another important aspect of the Miranda warnings. A suspect has a Sixth Amendment right to an attorney, which includes the right to have his or her attorney present during any questioning. If the suspect cannot afford an attorney, the suspect will have the right to have an attorney appointed at court, but will not have the right to the immediate appointment of a lawyer to sit with the suspect during questioning.
Not only must the Miranda warnings be given, but the suspect must understand them, and any waiver of the Miranda rights must be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary.
Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had a practice of issuing warnings of the right to remain silent and the right to counsel. The Uniform Code of Military Justice also required that a suspect be warned of the right to remain silent.
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