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Your Miranda Rights: Part 2


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12/22/2011
James W Harwood
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Yesterday I wrote in my blog some basic information about your Miranda rights.  I wrote that Miranda warnings only have to be provided after you are formally arrested.  This is significant for driving under the influence (DUI) cases because most questioning in a DUI case happens before the officer actually slaps cuffs on you. 

Today, I want to talk about what you need to do to invoke your Miranda rights.  Usually, once an officer recites your Miranda rights to you he will then ask, “Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”  If you answer affirmatively, the officer may then ask you something like, “With those rights in mind, do you want to talk to me without a lawyer present?”  An officer does not necessarily have to ask that last question.  They can simply start asking questions, and if you answer them, it can be implied that you are willing to talk without a lawyer. 

Your assertion of your right to remain silent or speak with an attorney must be “unequivocal”.  That means saying something like, “Maybe I should talk to a lawyer first”, or “Do you think I should talk to a lawyer first?” may not count as assertions of your rights.  If you find yourself in a situation where you have been arrested and officers want to ask you questions be direct.  Tell the police officer something like, “With all respect, I choose to invoke my right to remain silent and hereby refuse to answer any questions without my attorney present.”  Such a statement is an unequivocal invocation of your rights, and will require the officer to stop talking to you immediately. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  “The less you tell the cops the better it will be for your case down the road.”  The police are not looking to help you out by getting your side of the story.  They are looking for evidence to use against you in court. 



Category: General


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