What are My Miranda Rights and My Right to Remain Silent?

Under the United States Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, a defendant has specific Miranda Rights including the right to remain silent and the right to be represented by an attorney. Once a defendant invokes his or her Miranda Rights, the officers are no longer permitted to question the witness and must honor that right to remain silent and stop questioning immediately. While biographical questions can be asked such as name, address etc. can be asked and those answers and those answers can be admitted, any question that is deemed investigatory must be suppressed. The assertion of a right to remain silent or to be represented by counsel must be conveyed clearly to the police. It must be an unquestionable assertion of the Miranda Rights before the Commonwealth is compelled to honor that right. However, once one of the Miranda Rights is invoked to one officer, knowledge of that invocation is imputed to the remaining officers under current case law. At that point, the officers are no longer able to question the defendant.

 

May the police resume questioning at a later time? The answer is complicated and dependent upon whether that right has been “scrupulously” honored by police. Further, the court have used several factors to determine whether an officer can reassume questioning after a defendant asserts one of his Miranda Rights, specifically the right to remain silent or be represented by counsel. The court will consider time elapsed, nature of questioning, location of questioning, topic of questioning and the individual asking the questions. Furthermore, the court will look to see if the defendant was reread his Miranda Rights and whether there was a voluntary and intelligent waiver of those rights.

The court puts a heavy emphasis on a defendant’s right to remain silent and his right to counsel. Prevailing caselaw dictates that the rights be honored and questioning only permitted to be resumed once the Commonwealth can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant understood those rights and voluntarily waived the rights previously

asserted. If you believe that your Miranda Rights have been violated, give me a call today for a free consultation.