NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 6th December 2023, 11:06 pm
How Your Miranda Rights Protect You After Arrest in Long Island
So you got arrested in Long Island. That sucks! But don’t worry too much yet—you still have rights that can protect you during this stressful time. Specifically, you have Miranda rights that police must read to you after arresting you. These rights are important to understand so you can advocate for yourself during questioning and legal proceedings. I’ll walk through what they mean and why they matter.
Let’s start with the basics: Miranda rights were established in 1966 by the Supreme Court in Miranda v Arizona. The Court ruled that police must inform arrested persons of their constitutional rights before interrogation. This protects the 5th amendment right against self-incrimination and the 6th amendment right to counsel.
So what exactly are these Miranda rights the police have to read you? Here’s the typical phrasing:
- You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you if you so desire.
Seems simple enough, but let’s break it down further:
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
This is at the core of your 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination. You’re never required to answer police questions during arrest or interrogation. This prevents them from coercing a confession that could be used to prosecute you.
Exercising your right to remain silent cannot legally be used against you in court. But police are allowed to point out inconsistencies if you waive this right and answer some questions but not others. So it’s usually best to remain entirely silent until you have an attorney present.
Anything You Say Can Be Used Against You in Court
In other words, there’s no “off the record” with police. They can and will use any statements, even seemingly innocuous ones, as evidence against you. So don’t let casual questioning lull you into a false sense of security that leads you to incriminate yourself accidentally.
For example, saying something like “I was just defending myself!” could establish that you were involved in a fight or assault. Better to just invoke your right to silence altogether.
You Have the Right to an Attorney During Questioning
Under the 6th amendment, you always have the right to legal counsel to protect your interests during criminal proceedings.
So you’re fully within your rights to refuse to answer any police questions without your lawyer present. In fact, most defense attorneys advise doing exactly that in order to prevent self-incrimination or other legal missteps.
The police may try to convince you to waive this right and continue questioning without counsel. They might say something like “if you have nothing to hide, why not talk to us now?” But don’t let them pressure you—it’s completely legal and smart to exercise your right to an attorney.
If You Can’t Afford an Attorney, One Will Be Appointed
Most public defender’s offices maintain 24-hour on-call duty for precisely this purpose. If you tell police you wish to invoke your right to counsel but cannot afford private representation, they must facilitate contacting the on-call public defender to appoint your free legal counsel.
So there are really no excuses or barriers to exercising your Miranda protections—even if you’re totally broke, you can still gain legal support immediately after arrest.
Now, a common question at this point: do police legally have to read me my Miranda rights? What if they don’t?
The short answer is: yes, police must advise you of these core rights before beginning any interrogation if you are in custody. If they fail to do so properly, any information or confession obtained may not be admissible as evidence against you in court.
So if you realize the cops are questioning you without reminding you of your rights, be sure to ask something like “am I free to leave?” or “am I under arrest?” If the answer suggests you’re in custody but they still haven’t Mirandized you, clearly invoke your right to silence and ask for an attorney immediately.
The police do not have to read you Miranda rights upon immediate arrest—only once questioning begins. But in Long Island, most officers will remind you of your core protections immediately as a matter of procedure.
What If I Waive My Rights and Talk to Police Against My Best Interests?
You always have the ability to waive your Miranda protections if you wish by explicitly telling police you agree to speak with them without invoking your right to silence or counsel. But this is almost universally considered a terrible idea that goes against your legal interests. As they say, anything you say can and will be used against you.
However, if you do end up talking to cops without invoking your rights for whatever reason, all hope is not lost. Your attorney can still file a motion to suppress the interrogation, arguing you did not properly understand the consequences of waiving your rights at the time. If the judge agrees the waiver was not fully informed or voluntary, your statements may still be excluded as evidence.
The bottom line: Miranda rights protect you from the moment of arrest forward. Police must clearly remind you that you have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and that anything you do say can be used against you. If police fail to properly Mirandize you, exercise your rights immediately and refuse to answer questions without a lawyer present. This gives your defense the strongest footing from the very start.
I know dealing with arrest and potential criminal charges is scary. But understanding and utilizing your Miranda rights is the best way to defend yourself from the outset. So if you or someone you know gets detained in Long Island, remember: not another word without your lawyer! Knowing and invoking these protections is the first step in building your strongest case