The criminal justice system in the U.S. can be almost unbelievably confusing. After all, many statutes and court opinions have hard-to-understand language. Likewise, from investigations to appeals, there are many phases of the process.
If you are facing criminal charges or are the subject of a criminal investigation, it cannot hurt to brush up on your fundamental rights. Specifically, you should know about each right in the Miranda advisement.
What is the Miranda advisement?
Named for a U.S. Supreme Court case from the 1960s, the Miranda advisement accomplishes the following objectives:
- Informs you of your right to remain silent
- Informs you of the consequences of talking to investigators
- Informs you of your right to an attorney
- Informs you about requesting a lawyer
According to the federal judiciary, officers usually must inform you of your Miranda rights only before they begin a custodial interrogation. This means they must intend to ask you questions when you are not at liberty to leave.
Should you ask for an attorney?
You may realize you have a right to an attorney during your criminal trial. You may not know, though, that this right extends to all major phases of the criminal justice process. Because your interrogation is a major phase, you have the right to have an attorney present when officers question you.
Even if you have nothing to hide, it is easier than you may think to incriminate yourself. Therefore, it makes a great deal of sense to ask for an attorney. It also makes sense to stop talking until a lawyer arrives to advise you.
Ultimately, having an attorney with you during police questioning and throughout the rest of the process is probably one of the more effective ways to protect yourself.