Ernesto Miranda is the name of the person whose criminal case in 1966 resulted in a U. S. Supreme Court ruling, holding that law enforcement agents cannot lawfully interrogate an individual in police custody without first informing him or her of certain rights protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This requirement was henceforth known as “Miranda Rights.” If a North Carolina officer makes a traffic stop, for instance, then subsequently arrests the driver for suspected drunk driving, the person must be informed of his or her legal rights. If a person believes a personal rights violation has occurred, steps can be taken to request a dismissal of any resulting charges or to deem certain evidence inadmissible in court.
When a police officer informs a person of his or her Miranda Rights, information must include a warning that the person may invoke his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain. The officer must also inform the person that if he or she chooses to speak, what is said may be used by prosecutors against the individual in court. The officer must also tell the person that if he or she cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint one.
There have been cases in the past when a police officer has questioned a defendant in custody without first providing Miranda Rights information. In such cases, the court considers any verbal response of a defendant to have been involuntary. Therefore, prosecutors would be barred from using the defendant’s responses in court.
If a North Carolina police officer fails to inform a defendant of his or her Miranda Rights, it can have a significant impact on a related criminal proceeding. It is always best to be as well-informed as possible ahead of time regarding Fifth Amendment protections. It is also helpful to seek support from an experienced criminal defense attorney if one believes a personal rights violation has occurred.