Watch any criminal drama on television, and you will likely hear the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent,” at least once. Where does this phrase come from, and what does it mean for an individual’s rights in New York City?
The phrase refers to one’s Miranda rights, which originated from the case Miranda versus Arizona, which was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1966. Basically, the Court in this case ruled that if an individual is taken into the custody of law enforcement officials, before that individual can be questioned, he or she must be informed of his or her rights under the Fifth Amendment stating that the individual has the right not to make any declarations that would incriminate him or herself.
Under one’s Miranda rights, law enforcement officials must inform individuals they want to question of four things. First of all, as you may already know, there is the individual’s right to remain silent. In addition, the individual must be informed that any statements they make could be used against the individual. Moreover, the individual must be informed that he or she have the right to legal representation, and finally, that he or she will be provided with legal representation if he or she cannot afford it.
If law enforcement officials question an individual who is in their custody without informing the individual of his or her Miranda rights, statements made by that individual will be deemed involuntary and cannot serve as evidence or a confession in a criminal proceeding. In addition, it is possible that any physical evidence obtained from unlawful questioning by law enforcement officials may not be used in a criminal proceeding.
Individuals in New York City deserve to have their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to be upheld. If an individual believes this right was violated, he or she should inform his or her criminal defense attorney, so that any statements made or evidence obtained therein are not unlawfully used against the individual.
Source: FindLaw, “‘Miranda’ Rights and the Fifth Amendment,” accessed Feb. 21, 2016