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What Are Miranda Rights and Why Are They Important?

Florida police officer questions a silent suspect in a police interrogation room.

Protect your freedom. Never answer police questions without a lawyer.

If you are arrested in Florida, or any other state, do not try to talk your way out of it.

We've seen it happen many times before. It doesn't matter if you're innocent, guilty, or somewhere in between. If the police want to arrest you and you keep talking, they will find a reason.

When the police ask you questions about a crime, use your Miranda right to remain silent and talk to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The less you say to the police, the more options your criminal defense attorney has to build you a strong case.

Arrested in Clay County or Northeast Florida? Get help now.

If you have already been arrested or suspect you will be questioned about a crime, contact Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. We know the law. When an officer's actions or questions violate your rights, we shut it down. Our criminal defense law firm serves Northeastern Florida and offers free case consultations to potential clients.

You've got rights. Now, here's how to use them.

Florida Miranda rights FAQ

What are Miranda rights?

Since the 1960s, police have been required to inform those being arrested or being questioned while in custody of their "Miranda rights" - the right to remain silent and their right to an attorney.

You've probably heard a version of a Miranda warning before in a police drama or movie, but entertainers don't always get it right. The language may change per police department, but a basic Florida Miranda warning goes like this:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to an attorney.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.

When do you get a Miranda warning?

In general, a Miranda warning is given on two very specific occasions: an arrest or an in-custody interrogation. The key to having your Miranda rights read is "custody." Most interactions police have with people are not custodial. Officers can ask a lot of questions before Mirandizing a person.

What happens if a police officer doesn't read my Miranda rights during an arrest?

It is a myth that the charges against a suspect will be automatically dismissed if an officer does not give them a Miranda warning. However, any information police gather after a suspect should have been Mirandized is illegal and cannot be used to support charges or prosecute the suspect. Do not count on the police or prosecutor to determine their own "evidence" is garbage and voluntarily throw it out. You'll need an aggressive Florida criminal defense lawyer that understands how things work in Clay and St. Johns counties to advocate for you.

When do I have to answer police questions?

In general, you are under no legal obligation to answer questions from police or prosecutors. This goes for when you're in custody and not in custody. Your right to silence is established in the 5th Amendment, which protects people against self-incrimination. That is to say, you are not required to provide evidence that can be used against you.

How do I use my right to stay silent?

While you always have the right to remain silent - including before being Mirandized - in some situations, you must verbally invoke it. Otherwise,  if you are not in custody, your silence could be used against you as "evidence" of guilt. Therefore, before you go silent, tell the police something like this:

"I'm using my right to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer."

Although your Miranda rights protect your silence from being used against you, it is a good idea to cover all your bases and declare that you will not answer questions and want to speak with a lawyer immediately.

Criminal defense lawyers dedicated to your freedom

Were your rights violated during a St. Johns County arrest? Have you been charged with a crime in Clay County? Does a Northeastern Florida police department want you for questioning?

Contact Aguilar & Sieron, P.A., for a free case consultation. With more than 40 years of experience as a Clay County criminal defense law firm, we can give you information about your case that you can trust.

At no cost to you, a member of our team can answer your case-related questions, explain how the law applies to you, and review potential defense options.

Do not wait. The less you say to the police, the more options we have to defend you. We are ready to be by your side every step of the way. Contact us now.

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