Legal Updates

A Run Down On Miranda Warnings

We’ve all seen the scenes in the movies.  The alleged perpetrator is arrested and read his Miranda Warnings.  They go something like this, “You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say may be used against you.  You have the right to consult with a lawyer before speaking to the police, and have an attorney present during questioning.  If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you.”  What is the purpose of The Miranda Warnings?  And what is their origin?

The Miranda Warnings are a court created rule.  The courts, time and time again, were seeing unfortunate situations like this: Defendant is taken from his home into custody.  Defendant is interrogated by police without food or water for hours.  Defendant breaks down and gives a signed, written, confession.  The confession is used to convict the Defendant at trial.  One problem:

Defendant did not commit the crime.

The purpose of Miranda Warnings is to alleviate the inherent coercion that people feel around the police.  It is a recognition from the Court, that a coercive police environment may cause an innocent person to confess to a crime they did not commit.  The warnings exist to prevent police from using their position of power in society to extract false, self incriminating statements.

The Court reasoned that the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from self-incrimination.  The 6th Amendment Right to Counsel provides that the accused shall have a right to a lawyer.  The Court combined these rights into the warning that is usually read by police upon arrest.

In PA, Miranda Warnings are necessary where the is an interrogation in police custody. Both elements of the standard are legal terms of art.  What is clear, is that when law enforcement officials fail to uphold these rights, the Defendant may suppress any statements made as a result of unconstitutional police coercion.  If your constitutional rights have been violated, you should retain lawyer right away.

Consult with a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer.  Our office can evaluate your case, and determine; A.) Whether Miranda warnings were legally required; and B.) If required, whether the statements made should be suppressed if said warnings were not given.

Ensure all you constitutional rights are protected.  Call the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos today at (267) 535-9776.