An arrest in Louisiana or elsewhere is definitely no walk in the park. It can be downright embarrassing, not to mention have long-lasting and far-reaching consequences in your life. Depending on the particular details of your situation, you may wind up navigating the criminal justice system rather swiftly and, perhaps, never going to trial, or you may be headed for a long, arduous fight to preserve your freedom.
Either way, you should always be fully aware of your rights before heading to court. In the case of your arrest, the specific rights that matter most are your Miranda rights. There are several issues the arresting officer must bring to your attention before taking you into custody and questioning you in a formal investigation.
What are Miranda rights?
How many times have you watched old cop movies on TV where the character playing an arresting officer tells the accused he or she has the right to remain silent? While it makes for good movie-watching, in real life, it’s actually required by law. The following facts explain Miranda rights and tell you what an officer must say before arresting you:
- The Miranda rights received their name after a legal case in 1966 between a man named Miranda versus the state of Arizona.
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an arresting officer must inform you of your right to invoke the Fifth Amendment to remain silent without legal representation present.
- The officer must also make sure you know that prosecutors may use anything you say or do against you, if you wind up facing charges in court.
- In conjunction with your right to remain silent, the officer must tell you that you have a right to hire an attorney.
- He or she must also clearly state that, if you can’t hire an attorney due to financial constraints, the court will appoint one to your service.
If a police officer violates your Miranda rights (namely, by not informing you of them at the appropriate time) and you confess to a crime, the court may consider your confession forced and invalid if you can prove that a law enforcement agent violated your rights.
It’s one thing, however, to know that someone has violated your rights and quite another to know what course of action to take to do something about it. There are support networks in place to assist you if this happens.