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Miranda Warnings: The Right to Remain Silent

Miranda v. Arizona was a landmark Supreme Court case decided in 1966. It was arguably the most important development in criminal law in the twentieth century, and its value and how it should be used continues to be discussed today. The Miranda court voted 5-4 statements made by a defendant when he is being interrogated by law enforcement officials regarding a crime can only be used against him as evidence in court when he was advised of his rights prior to the interrogation. The defendant must have voluntarily waived those rights and agreed to speak to police, notes Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney William R. Moore. More than forty years later, Miranda remains integral to criminal defense in Broward County and throughout the United States.

Miranda rights include the right to counsel and the right to remain silent. Many police departments provide officers with cards from which officers can read the specific language of the Miranda warnings. Some even require defendants to sign the cards as proof of their intention to answer the questions posed by the police. The most common form of the Miranda warning reads as follows:

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 speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand each of these rights I have explained to you?

In Florida, and some other states, the warning should be followed by a second question: having in mind these rights, do you wish to talk to us now? Some states, mostly along the southwest border with Mexico, additionally notify individuals that if they are not citizens of the United States, they can elect to speak with representatives from their consulates. Other states, in conformity with local procedure, provide the additional information that if the person who is being interrogated cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided if and when he goes to court in relation to the case.

The Miranda warning only protects individuals who are actually in police custody and who are being interrogated with relation to the crime. Police are not required to give the warning when they arrest someone and they can conduct interviews without “Mirandizing” the suspect, although the statements will likely be inadmissible in court, says Broward criminal defense lawyer William R. Moore.

Answers to routine questions asked during booking are also not covered by Miranda, and the police need not give the warning prior to asking basic questions like name, date of birth, the height and weight of the suspect, and the suspect’s home address.

If you or your child have been charged with a crime, contact William R. Moore, , which has experienced south Florida criminal defense lawyers with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties. Criminal Defense Attorneys at our law firm handle all types of criminal defense, including DUI, assault, drug possession, and others.

William R. Moore Criminal Defense Attorneys
110 SE 6th St #1713
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301


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