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50 years of the Miranda Warning

The Miranda warning, which is 50 years old this month, arose out of the case of Ernesto Miranda v. the State of Arizona, in which Miranda was arrested for a crime and not informed that he could be silent or contact an attorney. His confession to the crime was thrown out and he was released, and the Miranda warning was born. Today, law enforcement officers all over the United States use it when they arrest someone. Each state can decide how to word their warning, and there isn't one particular version that must be used all across the country.

Miranda Warning Basics

While the version used in the state of Illinois may not be the same as in neighboring states, there are specific parts of the Miranda warning that must be used in any version of it to comply with this law. These include the statement that the suspect has the right to remain silent, that anything they say can be used against them in court, that they have the right to an attorney, and that they can waive those rights if they choose to. Even if they waive their rights, though, they can change their mind at any time and decide that they want to contact an attorney.

Common Misconceptions

The biggest misconception is that every officer has to issue a Miranda warning to just about everyone they talk to. That's not the case. Instead, the warning is typically issued when a person is being detained by police and about to be questioned. Before that, when you're just talking with an officer and you haven't been taken into custody, anything you say isn't covered by the Miranda warning and could still be used against you. That's important to remember, especially with sensitive information.

An Attorney May Be Able to Help

If you've been arrested or charged with a crime a violation of your Miranda rights could have a bearing on the outcome of your case. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can determine whether that is the case or if there are other, better ways to defend against the charges.

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