Why Are Miranda Rights Important? Essay

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Topic: Law
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Introduction

This essay on Miranda Rights is useful for all American citizens and those who are interested in studying law as well. In the US, the rights and freedoms, which are fixed by the Constitution, are meant to protect everyone.

However, in the case of the Miranda Warning, there are a lot of misunderstandings. Many people perceive it as a warning or even a threat from the police. They just don’t know the true meaning of it.

Sometimes it may indeed sound scary, mainly because it is pronounced before taking the person into custody. However, the reason why the police have to make sure you understand these rights to protect you.

The stating of the Miranda Warning is used to prevent self-incrimination. Nowadays, this procedure is obligatory. But it is only thanks to the case of Ernesto Miranda in 1966 that made it possible. Its impact is tremendous: preventing people from becoming victims of their inattention.

What Are the Words of Miranda Rights?

If you haven’t heard police saying this warning in the movies, you might be wondering what the words to the Miranda Rights are. There are some variations, but the core remains the same.

Most of them begin with, “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 provided for you.”

After that, the question follows, “Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?” If you have doubts, feel free to visit the official website.

The Importance of Miranda Rights

The importance of Miranda Rights can hardly be underestimated. Only before 1966, stating the Miranda Warning during an arrest had not been obligatory. That year, the case of Ernesto Miranda changed everything. Let’s dig into history a little bit.

Ernesto Miranda was arrested by the police and taken to the station. After interrogation, police officers got a signed confession out of him. Based on it, Miranda was sentenced for kidnapping and raping.

However, the Supreme Court of the US had lifted the charges. There is a simple reason for it. According to the Fifth Amendment, he was supposed to be informed of his rights before the arrest. After this case, this warning has become known as the Miranda Warning.

It was created to prevent people from self-incrimination. Sadly, most people don’t know about their rights. It can lead to some serious troubles, especially when a suspect is innocent. Therefore, it is necessary to be informed about the rights.

Simply put, the Miranda Warning is a set of basic rules you need to know about before being taken into custody. Police are obligated to state these rights to the suspect before the interrogation process is started.

The critical component of the Miranda Rights is that the person arrested has the right to remain silent before the attorney arrives. In the US, the text of the Miranda Warning might differ from state to state.

You might have heard the beginning of the most common statement in the movies. It usually starts from the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent.” Then a warning follows that the words of the suspect can be used against him. The part about the rights to have an attorney is also included.

Now, there is one more vital thing. A police officer has to hear a clear answer from the arrested person after asking whether they understand the warning.

There could be some reasons why a person can’t answer this question. It is difficult due to some disabilities, for instance. In this case, everything necessary should be done to make it possible for this person to answer the question.

Making sure a suspect understands the Miranda Rights is mandatory. Otherwise, both parties might suffer legal consequences.

Thanks to the Miranda Warning, a person arrested can use his right to use the lawyer’s help. This way, they cannot be interrogated until the lawyer arrives. Of course, they are free to change their decision at any time.

However, there are some details that most people simply don’t know about when they are thinking about Miranda Rights. The thing is, these rights are not almighty. You would only be informed about these rights when you are officially arrested.

In other cases, when officers are asking about specific crimes, the Miranda Warning is not applied. It is all according to the Fifth Amendment.

Therefore, people who are not under arrest and are not officially interrogated do not fall under the Miranda Rights protection. By now, the importance of these rights should be obvious. It is a purely protective measure. All US citizens can and have to use it.

On the other hand, it is also their responsibility to know when to use these rights. A common misconception is that the Miranda Rights are in power in every situation. There are specific circumstances discussed above that the Fifth Amendment recognizes as eligible cases for the Miranda Warning.

All in all, everyone learns from the mistakes. The case of Ernesto Miranda made everyone realize that knowing their rights is necessary. In some situations, the suspect might not even be guilty. Therefore, using the right to stay silent before the attorney arrives can prevent some serious legal problems.

Conclusion

To sum up, the significance of Miranda Rights is major. They were established after the case of Ernesto Miranda in 1966. He was a criminal, and he was guilty. However, he wasn’t informed about his rights before the interrogation. So the Supreme Court reversed the sentence. It clearly shows why Miranda Rights are important.

All citizens of the US are protected by it, but only under certain circumstances. In case of being in custody and under interrogation, police officers must make sure the suspect is aware of the Miranda Rights.

By knowing when you can use your rights, you can prevent incriminating yourself. Therefore, reading some informative pieces like this one is a great option to spend your free time!

Miranda Rights FAQ

❓ What is the Miranda rights word for word?

The Miranda Rights word for word is: “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.” However, some details may differ from state to state. After the warning, the police officer has to ask whether the suspect understands everything.

❓ Why are Miranda Rights called Miranda rights?

Miranda Rights are called Miranda Rights because the warning became obligatory after the famous case of Ernesto Miranda. He was accused of raping a woman and sentenced to prison. However, after the hearing in the Supreme Court, the charges were lifted. It happened because he wasn’t informed that he could use the help of an attorney before the interrogation.

❓ When are Miranda Rights not required?

Miranda Rights are not required when the person is not under arrest. It is a common misunderstanding, but you can’t use it anytime. The police officer may ask you something while you’re not under custody. In this case, there is no use for Miranda Rights. For example, the standard booking procedure is an exception to the use of these rights.

❓ When are you supposed to be read your Miranda Rights?

You are supposed to be read your Miranda Rights when you are taken into custody. It is one of the conditions. Another one is that the police pull a full-on interrogation. If it is just a standard booking procedure, no one reads any rights. However, it is crucial to understand in which situations the Miranda Warning is applied.

❓ When were Miranda Rights established?

Miranda Rights were established in 1966. It happened after the infamous case of Ernesto Miranda. The police interrogated him without knowing his right to have an attorney. The confession used in court to accuse him was declared invalid. It demonstrates the power of knowing your rights. This case led to the Miranda Warning becoming mandatory since then.

References

Mirandarights.org. n.d. Miranda Rights. [online]

LII / Legal Information Institute. n.d. Miranda Warning. [online]

Cicchini, M., 2012. The New Miranda Warning. [online] Scholar.smu.edu.

United States Courts. n.d. Facts And Case Summary – Miranda V. Arizona. [online]

Loc.gov. n.d. Miranda Warning Equivalents Abroad. [online]

Larson, A., 2018. What Are Your Miranda Rights | Expertlaw. [online] Expertlaw.com.

Wechsler, M., n.d. Miranda Rights, The Miranda Warning & Police Questioning. [online] TheLaw.com.