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Miranda Warnings

Posted on:9/27/2012
Law officers must give Miranda warnings to anyone they arrest or, during questioning, to anyone they suspect of a crime. After that warning, any voluntary statement the suspects make can be used against them in court. Miranda warnings also tell the suspects about important rights:


          the right to remain silent

          the right for a lawyer to be present during any questioning

          the right to an appointed lawyer

 

Officers do not have to use a prescribed set of words. As a practical matter, most officers carry a card with the Miranda warnings printed on it. To ensure that there is later no question about the suspects having been warned, officers frequently have them initial the card or each of the specific rights separately.

 

After these warnings are given and the suspects waive their rights, it is perfectly proper procedure for an officer to question them at length. The officer can show the suspects inconsistencies in their stories or confront them with evidence linking them to the crime.

 

If the suspects wish to confess, they must either write out their confession or record it on an audio or video recorder. Each type of situation has particular technical requirements; in the case of a confession, for example, the Miranda warnings must appear either in the written statement or on the tape. If an officer fails to follow these legal procedures, the evidence gathered may be excluded from the trial. It is, therefore, essential that an officer know and follow correct legal procedures.


  
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