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Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...

Chicago criminal defense lawyerIn recent years, the authority that police officers have over citizens has been heavily debated. Some people believe that law enforcement officers have too much authority and power while others strongly disagree. Regardless of your stance on the issue, knowing your rights during police interactions is essential. Most people have heard a Miranda warning or learned about their constitutional rights, but many do not fully understand how to assert those rights. If you are suspected of a criminal offense, knowing how to invoke your rights is essential.

The History of Miranda Warnings

When a criminal suspect is arrested or before he or she is interrogated, police are required to read the suspect the “Miranda Rights.” These rights include the right to remain silent and the right to consult with an attorney. The rights are largely based on the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution states that individuals may not be forced to be a witness against themselves. Put another way, people have the right to avoid incriminating themselves or implicating themselves in a crime. They also have the right to legal counsel.

The Miranda Rights stem from a case in which 24-year-old criminal defendant Ernesto Miranda was interrogated by police about his alleged involvement in several violent crimes. Lawyers contended that Miranda had not been informed of his right to avoid self-incrimination and speak with a lawyer before the interrogation. Although Miranda had confessed to the crimes during the interrogation, the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that his confession was inadmissible in court because he had not been informed of his rights.


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Miranda Rights, arrested, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyOver and over again on television dramas, the case is resolved with the arrest of a suspect while the arresting officer recites the familiar words, “You have the right to remain silent.” Most people are familiar with the idea of Miranda Rights, but many do not clearly understand what they represent or how they came to be such an important part of the legal process.

Why are They Called “Miranda” Rights?

The warnings that so many associate with the arrest of a suspect take their name from a Supreme Court decision dating back to 1966. In that case, a man named Ernesto Miranda was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, robbery, and rape. During interrogation, Miranda eventually confessed to the crimes and was convicted. He appealed on the grounds that his confession was not voluntary and that no attorney was present during questioning. The United States Supreme Court ultimately agreed and overturned Miranda’s initial conviction. Miranda would later be retried without the confession being permitted as evidence and was convicted again.



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