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MEET MIRANDA

This is the second entry in the Criminal Law series. The series is designed to provide our clients and the general public with the basic valuable information they need to be legally protected in times of stress and uncertainty.

Miranda

The rules addressed in this entry have to do with Miranda. Despite the popularization of the phrase, one does not have Miranda rights. Reference to these "rights" has caused much confusion for many people. It is often thought that one cannot be properly arrested without first being read their Miranda rights. This is completely untrue.

According to the United States Supreme Court, the Constitution requires a person being arrested to be read their Miranda warnings in order for the person to be apprised of their Constitutional rights. If the arresting officer or officers do not supply the arrested person with their Miranda warnings, the person is still under arrest. However, if this does occur, a judicially created legal principle, unique to the area of criminal law, called the Exclusionary Rule is activated.

The Exclusionary Rule prohibits evidence collected or analyzed in violation of a person's Constitutional rights, which includes the giving of Miranda warnings, from being admitted and used against that person in court. This rule is intended to function as a protective measure and remedy. It also acts as a disincentive for law enforcement officers to deny a person their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

This rule is grounded in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, which is intended to protect citizens from illegal searches and seizures. However, the breadth of the Miranda warning implicates the Sixth Amendment as well, which guarantees the right to counsel. It applies not only to United States citizens, but to all legal and illegal immigrants, as well as visitors. For the most part, these rules are followed closely by law enforcement and the court system. However, being aware of the rights afforded you under the Constitution not only makes you more confident in the legal system but can also protect you when you need protection the most.

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