Attorney Gregory H. Comings is a seasoned Riverside criminal defense lawyer fighting for the rights of the accused. Everyone has the right to have an attorney to be present during police questioning, and the importance of an advocate is critical. If you or a family member has been arrested, the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings can assist. We help you understand your legal rights and obligations. Whether you are facing charges for domestic violence, assault and battery, a drug offense or other crime, Attorney Comings is prepared to efficiently and effectively handle your case.
“Miranda Rights” comes from the United States Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436 (1966). In that case, the suspect was arrested, taken into police custody and interrogated without a lawyer, and without being told he had a right to a lawyer. He signed a written confession and was eventually convicted of the crime. The Supreme Court found that the Fifth Amendment protects people from being compelled to incriminate themselves. The Court also held that interrogation must stop if a suspect asserts their right to silence, or to an attorney.
The law holds that the prosecution cannot use a statement that someone gives in a custodial interrogation unless certain procedural rules have been followed. These rules, known as Miranda rights, require law enforcement to warn a suspect before they are questioned that they have the right to remain silent, and that anything they say may be used against them in court. The suspect must also be told they have the right to the presence of an attorney, and if they cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to them.
Miranda warnings are necessary when a suspect is both in custody and about to be interrogated. This affects your criminal case because if you voluntarily offer information to a police officer, this information may be used against you. Before you are in custody, law enforcement can ask questions, even if the answers might incriminate you. For example, questioning can occur at a traffic stop, or if an officer stops you on the street. However, if you are arrested or placed in a police vehicle, then you are generally considered to be “in custody.'' Again, if you are in police custody, you may not be issued Miranda warnings unless the police begin questioning you.
Miranda rights are protected by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. If a suspect has not been advised of their Miranda rights and makes a statement during or after being arrested, these statements may be inadmissible in court. For example, without being Mirandized, a confession made during a police interrogation while in custody would not be admissible.
There are situations in which a suspect may waive their Miranda rights. This means that the police can continue with questioning. Any waiver of rights must be voluntary. If law enforcement coerces a waiver, it will not be valid. Courts closely examine the circumstances of the waiver in order to make sure the defendant understood their Miranda rights before waiving them. They also are looking to ensure that the police did not manipulate the suspect into waiving their rights.
After you have been informed of your Miranda rights, it is important to understand you can invoke them anytime. If you do not invoke them right away, this does not mean that you cannot invoke them later, while being questioned. Even if you have already spoken to the police, you can invoke your Miranda rights. If you have made a statement to the police before invoking your rights, this statement may be admissible.
Understanding your Miranda rights can make a major difference in your case. At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we provide strong advocacy and effective representation. To speak with a skilled Riverside attorney, call our office at (951) 686-3457 or reach us online.