Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled on a case that changed how police did business across the country. It took a small step in watering down the Miranda Rights—those rights we all know by heart. Local officials in the Bay City area, however, state it will have little effect on the way things are done around there.
They begin, “You have the right to remain silent” and we can all recite many more lines that follow. Known as the Miranda Rights these rights are read at the time of arrest before police questioning. They are designed to simply inform a suspect of the rights they have, should they choose to use them.
The recent Supreme Court ruling addressed the first line in particular, the part about remaining silent. Yes, it’s true—you don’t have to answer questions if you don’t want to when you are under arrest. But, does that mean you can sit there silently and the police will understand this is you invoking that “right to remain silent”?
The Supreme Court says no. They ruled that in order to invoke the right and completely stop questioning by police, you must verbally tell them you want to remain silent. Seems strange right? In order to remain silent, you have to break your silence. And this is why many people are saying the latest ruling doesn’t make much sense and only serves to whittle away the Miranda Rights.
Police in Bay County state this won’t be an issue there because they routinely read a suspect their rights and then make the suspect sign off on the rights that they want to speak with police. No signature, no questioning. This practice is excellent and ensures the police and everyone involved know the suspect wanted to talk.
But, this practice is only in place in certain departments. This isn’t a statewide procedure and definitely isn’t a countrywide one either. So the conundrum remains, why should someone have to verbally invoke their right to remain silent when the right itself dictates they don’t have to speak?
One local attorney says “It’s not a surprising decision. I’m surprised they haven’t chipped away more at Miranda than they already have” and he isn’t alone. These pesky rights make it difficult for police to “get the bad guy” and anyway in which they can be bypassed serves to make things easier.
Whether we are talking about your Miranda Rights or the protection you have against unreasonable searches and seizures, it is your defense attorney’s job to protect you in court. If you are facing criminal charges, you need an advocate looking out for your best interests at all times.
Drug charges or assault charges—you deserve to be treated fairly throughout the criminal justice process and we can help. Contact our law offices today for a free consultation and to discuss your options.