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Miranda rights protect against self-criminalization

People detained by police in Georgia and across the United States must be read a set of their rights guaranteed by the Constitution regarding those placed in police custody. These rights are commonly referred to as Miranda rights and come from the rights contained in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Fifth Amendment protects citizens against self-criminalization. The Miranda rights were born in 1966 when a man named Ernesto Miranda was interviewed by police and confessed to a violent crime only two hours after being detained. He hadn't been explained his rights before the interview or the confession. He petitioned the court in a famous case known as Miranda v. Arizona. The court ruled that police have the responsibility to explain an individual's rights in the Constitution when it comes to self-criminalization. Without knowing these rights, people may confess to a crime when under duress without knowing that they don't have to do so.

As a result of the ruling, police are required to read each person taken into custody their Miranda rights before interviewing them. These rights include:

  • The right to not speak to the police.
  • The warning that anything said in police custody can be used in a court of law.
  • The right to a criminal defense attorney.
  • The right to have an attorney appointed if they cannot afford one on their own.

Those in police custody need to be aware of their Constitutional rights before being interviewed or signing a confession. If they confess to a crime without being read their rights, the confession may not be admissible in court as it is considered involuntary. A criminal defense lawyer might be able to get any evidence taken without the detained individual being aware of their rights thrown out. Without the interview or confession, the prosecution may not have enough evidence to continue with the trial and the charges might be reduced or dismissed.

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