“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 an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

Many of you have heard of Miranda Rights by watching television. It is a plot device in some of the more high profile criminal justice shows where the accused ends up released because the cops forgot to “read them their rights.” These types of programs can be both good and bad for attorneys because they provide some good information, but usually out of context or in such a way where nuances are removed. Miranda Rights are essentially those rights contained in the 5th Amendment that were curated into a clear and precise phrase that could be read quickly to the accused. This came from the Supreme Court Case (Miranda v. Arizona 1966) where the Court determined that suspects show know their rights against self-incrimination and to an attorney, or else any confession obtained should be thrown out.

What many people do not understand is that just because “the guy in the show” was let go doesn’t mean this will happen in real life. As Florida defense lawyers we hear this all the time, but it’s not always the case. A police officer may say he did read them to you (usually the case) and it comes down to your word or the officer’s. It may even be that they have enough evidence that your confession becomes unnecessary.

As a Sarasota criminal defense attorney, I cannot emphasize enough that it is important for every American to know that they have a Constitutional right to not self-incriminate. If you are forced to do so, then that evidence may not be used in court against you.