Have you ever heard a police officer or a law enforcement official say any of the following?:
1. You have the right to remain silent.
2. Anything that you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law.
3. You have the right to have an attorney present.
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
These four (4) statements are commonly referred to as your Miranda warnings or Miranda rights. Miranda warnings or Miranda rights come from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. They essentially go hand-in-hand with your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The 5th Amendment states that no person "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Thus, as a safeguard of your 5th Amendment rights, law enforcement officials must give you Miranda warnings before any custodial interrogation of you.
If you or someone you know was arrested in Louisiana, it is imperative that you have experienced legal counsel helping you. For support after a criminal arrest, the Louisiana criminal defense attorney at Law Offices of Philip B. Adams can help.
But what does that mean?
In layperson's terms, for your protection, law enforcement officials are required to give you Miranda warnings before questioning if you have been placed under arrest or your freedom has been deprived in any significant way. Notably, law enforcement officials are not required to give you Miranda warnings prior to questioning you if you are not under arrest or being detained in any significant way. Oftentimes, there is a thin line between custodial interrogation and non-custodial questioning by police.
Therefore, if you are ever stopped or approached by a law enforcement agent and asked questions, it is prudent to ask if you are free to leave. If you are free to leave, you have the right to do so without answering any questions. If you are not free to leave, it is a good idea to ask for an attorney and wait to speak with one prior to deciding to answer any questions by law enforcement. Additionally, if someone in law enforcement ever reads you your Miranda warnings, it's a good idea to ask for an attorney if you haven't already. It's your right not to talk.
Knowing your Miranda rights and, more critically, exercising your Miranda rights could save you from a lot of legal trouble. They say silence is golden, but in a criminal case, silence may be freedom. If you or a loved one is facing misdemeanor or felony charges and has questions regarding whether 5th Amendment rights were violated, you or that loved one should speak with an attorney immediately.
Call a Louisiana Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Facing criminal charges can be stressful and, at times, may seem to be a losing battle. But, having the right legal counsel can make all the difference in a criminal case. The Law Offices of Philip B. Adams are experienced Louisiana criminal defense lawyers and have handled many cases dealing with the 5th Amendment and seeming violations thereof. We are located in Shreveport, Louisiana, and we represent criminal clients throughout the state of Louisiana.
If you want to learn more about our firm, you can check out our website or call us at 318-230-7199 to set up a consultation. We are here to help.