In the federal case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the Supreme Court of the United States held that statements made in response to police questioning are only admissible if the accused is first notified of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning. The purpose of Miranda warnings, therefore, is to safeguard an accused’s Fifth Amendment constitutional rights against self-incrimination.
Under both the Florida Constitution and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, officials cannot compel people to testify as witnesses against themselves in criminal interrogations or prosecutions. If a police officer interrogates you without properly Mirandizing you, you can suppress any statements you make later on and the prosecution may not use them against you during a criminal trial.
If you face criminal charges in the St. Petersburg area, before answering any questions posed by a police officer or investigator, assert your right to the presence of counsel—both before and during questioning. The knowledgeable St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys at Khonsari Law Group are ready and willing to help you throughout your criminal case and can safeguard all of your constitutional rights throughout the proceedings.
The Four “Bases” of a Proper Miranda Warning
Although there is no “script” associated with Miranda warnings, a proper Miranda warning must, at the very least, apprise you of the following:
- That you have the right to remain silent
- That police and prosecutors can use anything you say against you in court
- That you have a right to the presence of legal counsel before and during any police questioning, interrogation, or investigation
- That if you cannot afford an attorney, the state will provide one
A criminal defendant, however, may waive those Miranda rights—but the wavier must be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary.
Harmless Error Test
If a police officer or investigator fails to advise you of your Miranda rights before questioning, your lawyer can suppress any improperly obtained evidence at the criminal trial. Similarly, if the prosecution attempts to introduce inadmissible evidence at trial, then the court may grant you a new trial.
Erroneous admissions that police obtained in violation of Miranda are still subject to the “harmless error test.” In other words, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that any error in admitting the evidence did not contribute to a guilty verdict.
Call an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you were charged with a crime in Florida, you need legal counsel on your side before answering questions posed by police officers and criminal investigators. The criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group can advocate for you throughout your criminal proceedings and can help preserve your legal rights and defenses. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida, criminal defense lawyer, please call us at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online.