In the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a criminal suspect who has been arrested and detained must be informed of the constitutional right to an attorney – as well as the constitutional right against self-incrimination – prior to being compelled to respond to police questioning or take part in any police investigation. While there is no specific formula for the Miranda warning, there are several bases that must be covered in order for the warning to be deemed valid.
Under both the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States Constitution, in a criminal matter, a person may not be compelled to testify as a witness against himself in a criminal interrogation or prosecution. If you have been charged with and arrested for a crime, it is essential that you assert your right to the presence of legal counsel prior to any police interrogation or questioning. Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Brian J. Zeiger has the legal knowledge and skills to help ensure that all of your constitutional rights are safeguarded throughout your criminal proceedings and while your case is pending.
The ‘Four Corners’ of the Miranda Warning
While there is no particular formula or script for the Miranda warning, a proper Miranda warning must advise the accused of all of the following:
- That he or she has the right to remain silent
- That anything he or she says may be used against him or her in a court of law
- That he or she has a right to the presence of an attorney prior to any questioning, interrogation, or investigation
- That if he or she cannot afford an attorney, an attorney will be provided by the State
If the Miranda warning does not satisfy all four of the bases listed above, any evidence obtained thereafter may be deemed inadmissible in a court of law. Moreover, if the officer does not advise the accused of his or her Miranda rights prior to beginning questioning, any evidence obtained thereafter may be suppressed at the criminal trial. If inadmissible evidence is improperly introduced at trial, the criminal defendant may be granted a new trial.
Waiving Miranda Rights
Once a police officer provides Miranda warnings, the arrestee will have the opportunity to waive his or her Miranda rights. Any Miranda waiver must be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. In other words, the waiver must be freely given. Police officers, criminal investigators, and prosecutors sometimes try to coerce suspects into talking immediately. However, it cannot be understated how important the presence of counsel is during any type of police questioning or interrogation – no matter what the charge is.
Contact a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If your legal rights were compromised during a criminal interrogation or if you believe you were not given a proper Miranda warning prior to responding to police questioning, you need legal representation from an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney. Attorney Brian J. Zeiger of The Zeiger Firm has the legal knowledge, skills, and experience to formulate effective legal defenses to your charges and help you to suppress unfavorable evidence at trial. You should contact attorney Brian J. Zeiger today at 215-546-0340, or contact him online for a free initial consultation.