The Rights Contained in Miranda (3/3) A Georgia Lawyer ExplainsApril 30, 2011
The Miranda warnings we hear on television cop shows originate from the U.S. Supreme Court case in 1966, Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda warnings basically advise a suspect of his Right Against Self-Incrimination found in the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Right to Remain Silent
It seems odd, but simply remaining silent is not the best way to protect one’s Miranda Rights. The Courts have found that if someone wants to remain silent then they must actually speak or do some act which shows that they want to invoke the right to remain silent.
The best way to protect the right to remain silent is for one to simply state “I do not want to talk AND I want a lawyer.” The protections for wanting a lawyer are valued more highly by the Courts than the right to silence.
For the right to remain silent to do any good, it requires that the defendant stop talking and continue to not talk. If you tell law enforcement that you are not answering any questions after they read you your Miranda rights, they must honor this. However, if you voluntarily decide to start talking to the police later, you have given up your right to silence and “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
Right to a Lawyer
The right to remain silent sometimes overshadows the Miranda “right to counsel.” However, the right to counsel may be a more important right. The Courts seem to think this is true and vigorously protect those defendants that have had their request for a lawyer violated. At the requesting of a lawyer, all questioning should stop and not resume until a lawyer is present. A Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you examine the dynamics of your whole case and will investigate the case, use legal privileges, plea negotiations or a trial to help.
For more information on Miranda, please see our other articles: “’They didn’t read me my rights!’ – The Reality of Miranda (1 of 3)” and “When Should Miranda Warnings be Read? (2 of 3).”
About the author: John Breakfield is a Georgia Lawyer with Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys in Gainesville, Georgia and handles various Miranda Rights and Georgia Criminal Defense matters. The law office of Breakfield & Associates, Attorneys can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch), White County (Cleveland), Barrow County (Auburn, Bethlehem, Braselton, Carl, Statham, Winder), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Gwinnett County (Buford, Duluth, Sugar Hill, Lawrenceville), Jackson County (Braselton, Commerce, Hoschton, Jefferson, Pendergrass), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), Clarke County (Athens) and all of Northeast Georgia.
This article and video should not be considered nor relied upon as legal advice since it is only intended for general overview and informational purposes. Please consult with an attorney on your specific situation in order to determine an appropriate legal course of action.