Most people have heard of their Miranda rights at least in passing, especially due to the prevalence of the “right to remain silent” in films involving law enforcement.
However, very few people actually know what these rights protect, or whether they should invoke them.
Defining the Miranda warning
Miranda Warning discusses the impact of Miranda rights on anyone facing police interviews or interrogation.
Miranda rights protect two essential rights: a person’s right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination, and a person’s right to legal counsel regardless of their ability to afford it.
The first right essentially means that a person does not have to talk to law enforcement, and police cannot force a person to talk if they do not want to. This is specifically to avoid self-incriminating behaviors and statements, which officers can and do use against a suspect in their case building and in court.
The second right means that even if a person cannot afford to hire an attorney, they still deserve legal representation and counsel. This means the state has an obligation to provide the individual with free legal counsel in the form of an assigned representative.
To revoke or invoke your Miranda rights
Whether or not a person invokes or refutes their Miranda rights is up to each individual. They should not let anyone else’s opinion, including that of the police, sway their potential choice.
However, it is generally considered better to invoke these rights, even in the case of being innocent. Simply put, attorneys know how to navigate the situation better and can help a person avoid saying anything unintentionally that may look suspicious or incriminating in the eyes of the law.