A couple weeks ago, the Supreme Court made a ruling that may not have gotten as many headlines as other rulings but can have significant implications to how law enforcement interacts with citizens during an arrest. If a law enforcement officer now fails to recite the Miranda rights to the defendant at the time of arrest, the defendant no longer has the ability to sue. While this does not mean officers are now off the hook from reciting this, it does take a lot of the bite out of the enforcement of this rule. Here is what this means and why you should be aware of the implications.
What are your Miranda Rights?
Even if you don’t realize it, you have probably heard Miranda rights being recited at least once in your life. This is because any tv show or move that deals with an arrest will have these words, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” The point of an officer saying this is first, it is your constitutional right to know this but it is also so that you are able to protect yourself from potential self-incrimination. When you don’t know these rights, someone may be able to lead in questioning even if it gives the wrong impression but you have the right to ask for a lawyer prior to answer any questions.
What this ruling changes
The biggest change that may come from this ruling is the potential that some law enforcement officers will not be as strict about telling you your rights. Before if they had failed to do so, there was grounds for a potential lawsuit that would make counties more accountable to ensure that the Miranda rights were recited, however, one thing that is important to note is that even if someone now cannot sue due to failure to recite, it can lead to any information obtained before a lawyer is present to be thrown out of court which could impact the prosecution’s case.
How to protect yourself
In the event that you or a loved one is arrested and the officer does not tell you your rights, it is important for you to know them on your own. Even if they do not tell you that you have the right to remain silent, you still do have that right and it would probably be best to say straight away that you are requesting a lawyer and you are choosing to remain silent. Then there can be some record that you knew what your rights were and that you’re are exercising them. In times of stress like this, it can be completely understandable that most would want to explain their side but if words get misunderstood, it can cause more harm than good so it is always best to simply wait for a lawyer who has your best interests in mind to help guide you.
To sum up, while the Miranda Rights will not go away from this new ruling, it can definitely be considered a hit to the enforcement of it which makes it all the more important that everyone knows what rights they have and how to stand up for them in vulnerable times.