The Supreme Court’s recent ruling affecting Miranda rights led to quite the commotion. Of course, the ruling warranted that response. After all, your Fifth Amendment rights are critical to protect you if you face criminal charges.
So, it is important to understand the details of this ruling – as well as what you can do.
What does the ruling really mean?
The ruling did not limit the actual protections you have against self-incrimination, or your right to remain silent. What did it limit then? It banned lawsuits seeking damages if the police do not advise you of your rights.
Before, if the police did not inform you of your rights, law enforcement and the prosecution could use your words against you. If this led to a false conviction, you could file a civil lawsuit for damages. This is no longer an option under this ruling.
However, it is important to note that:
- Police are still required to inform you of your rights before interrogation
- You can still exclude evidence in the trial if the police did not read you your rights
Even so, this ruling does have serious effects. Many experts worry that it could increase the risk of coerced confessions and wrongful convictions. However, there are still ways to protect yourself if you face criminal charges.
It is even more important to remember your rights
Now more than ever, it is absolutely imperative to ensure you understand your Fifth Amendment rights. Regardless of whether the police advise you of your rights or not, you should remember:
- You have the right to stay silent in police custody and questioning
- You must clearly invoke your right to stay silent
- You can stop the interrogation at any time
- You can have an attorney present during questioning
What you say in a police interrogation can be used against you in court. This is a significant risk that you have the power to challenge when you take advantage of your rights.