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Miami Criminal Defense Attorney / Blog / Criminal Defense / Understanding Your Miranda Rights in Florida

Understanding Your Miranda Rights in Florida


Most people are familiar with the Miranda warning. If you have ever been arrested by the police–of for that matter watched a crime drama on television–you have heard the admonition that a suspect has the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. So what do these rights remain in practice? Can you really refuse to say anything to the police?

The Right to Remain Silent

The right to remain silent comes from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This means that if you are facing trial on any criminal charge, the state cannot force you to testify. Likewise, your decision not to testify cannot be used by the jury as evidence of your guilt. It is up to the state to prove you did something wrong. You do not have to “prove” your innocence.

The right against self-incrimination also means you can remain silent when questioned by the police. The Miranda warning only comes into play if the police wish to conduct a custodial interrogation. In other words, as long as you are free to walk away from the encounter without penalty, the police do not have to warn you of your right to remain silent. If, however, you are under arrest or otherwise placed in a situation where the police will not let you leave freely, then they have to give the warning before asking any questions.

Also note there are certain limited situations where you must give some information to the police. For example, if you are pulled over for a suspected traffic violation, you must give the officer your name and driver’s license. But you do not have to answer any other questions such as where you were or what you were doing. (The police also typically do not have to give a Miranda warning during a brief traffic stop.)

You can also invoke your right to remain silent even after initially speaking with the police voluntarily. Basically, you can stop answering questions at any time and invoke your Fifth Amendment rights. At that point, the police interrogation must cease.

The Right to an Attorney

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees all criminal suspects the right “to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” The Supreme Court has held this means that all defendants have the right to an attorney, even if they cannot afford one. It also means that once you invoke the right to counsel, the police cannot continue to question you outside the presence of your attorney.

This is why it is always a good idea to invoke your rights as soon as you are in a custodial situation. You should never feel pressured or coerced to talk to the police without an attorney to advise you. If you require legal advice or counsel from a qualified Miami criminal defense attorney, contact Asilia Law Firm, P.A., today to schedule a consultation.

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