Should You Waive Your Miranda Rights in Los Angeles, CA?
When interacting with law enforcement, a key part of your protections under U.S. law hinges upon Miranda rights. Named after the landmark 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, these are safeguards put in place to protect an individual’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, among other protections.
In Los Angeles, California – and anywhere else in the country – you should be very cautious about waiving these rights. It’s essential to understand what exactly you’re afforded under Miranda and why it’s so critical to remain silent before speaking with an attorney.
Primary Protections That Miranda Rights Offer You
Your rights under this concept are collectively known as your Miranda rights, and understanding each of them is essential.
You have the right to remain silent
This means that you don’t have to say anything to law enforcement that could incriminate you. You can decide to speak or not speak with law enforcement about the incident you’ve been arrested for.
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law
This means if you choose to speak to law enforcement, anything you say can be used as evidence and can either prove or disprove key points in your trial. No matter how casual the conversation may feel with a police officer, always keep in mind that any statement could potentially be used against you.
You have the right to an attorney
Before you answer any questions or submit any statements, it’s a defendant’s constitutional right to first consult with a legal professional who can provide advice on what and how to communicate safely.
If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you
No matter what your financial state may be, having proper legal representation is paramount. It’s your constitutional right to have an attorney, no matter what your financial situation is. If needed, the Court will ensure you are provided with legal representation—a public defender—who will represent you in your case.
Reasons Individuals Consider Waiving Their Rights
These are common reasons why individuals might consider waiving their Miranda rights:
The perception of guilt if they remain silent
Many feel that by choosing to remain silent during an interaction with law enforcement, they will be perceived as guilty. However, refusing to respond and invoking your right to remain silent cannot be used against you.
The belief that they can talk their way out of the situation
Oftentimes, there is a misconception that by explaining their side of what happened, they can avoid charges completely—an attempt at resolution outside the courtroom. However, this is almost never the case. Most people end up saying something incriminating rather than being able to ‘talk their way out’ of misdemeanor or felony charges.
Pressure from law enforcement
Law enforcement can sometimes exert considerable pressure on individuals during questioning. Even though the police are generally allowed to use certain powerful tactics when questioning people, they have a duty to refrain from interrogation once someone has invoked their right to remain silent.
The impact of these factors may lead one to waive their Miranda rights without fully understanding the dangers.
How To Properly Invoke Your Miranda Rights
Invoking your Miranda Rights requires a clear articulation of your intentions. Officers should honor any request that even slightly alludes to employing these rights, but it’s best to be explicit and unequivocal in your statement.
Here are examples of effective statements as well as what you might want to avoid:
“I do not wish to answer any questions, and I would like to speak to an attorney” – this explicitly shows that you’re invoking your right to an attorney.
“I invoke my right to remain silent” – In using this phrase or any variant of it, you’re explicitly exercising the essential part of the Miranda rights – remaining silent.
What not to say
Avoid vague or casual remarks, such as:
“I think I should speak to a lawyer” – This is less affirmative than clearly stating your intention.
“Maybe it would be good if I had a lawyer.” This leaves room for interpretation and doesn’t definitively express your intent to invoke these particular rights. By expressing your intention to remain silent clearly, you ensure the police cannot misconstrue your intention.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Legal Help
If you have any questions or need help with a criminal matter, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.
CONTACT THE LOS ANGELES CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM OF THE RODRIGUEZ LAW GROUP TODAY FOR HELP
The Rodriguez Law Group – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 460, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States